Late bedtimes and children who don’t get enough rest can make parents crazy. And the good, old-fashioned nap may be to blame.

Some studies have found that when children 2 years old and older nap every day, they have a hard time getting to sleep at night and don’t sleep well when they finally do drift off.

“Every child is a little bit different,” says Kasey Davis, PsyD, ABPP, board-certified clinical psychologist with St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “There is no hard-and-fast rule about when to stop daily naps.”

According to Dr. Davis, 2-year-olds need about 13 hours of sleep per day, and 3- and 4-year-olds need about 12 hours. If your child gets more than that with a nap, he may have a harder time falling asleep at night. If so, try a nap every other day. If he isn’t napping daily and he falls asleep easily in the car, doesn’t seem rested during the day and sleeps in on weekends, he still needs an afternoon snooze.

“The most important thing to remember is that your child needs plenty of sleep,” Dr. Davis says. “Naps are good for young children and help kids reach their daily sleep needs.”


Expert Advice