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Why are naps so important?
Q: How beneficial are naps?
A: I would say you are doing it for both of you, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Toddlers do indeed need a quiet time during the day, and you do, too. I am sure you have read about the “experiment” in which a professional football player attempted to duplicate every movement and every act of a 2-year-old for an entire day and couldn’t do it!

Sleep is a highly individualized process. Some toddlers who, as babies, took both a morning and an afternoon nap, hold onto the morning nap and give up the afternoon nap—a schedule which seems strange to an adult. And some just quit napping altogether.

I heartily endorse what you are now doing: give him a few toys and books in his bed and let him play quietly with them. If he doesn’t fall asleep, let him get up after about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how contented he seems to be. You don’t want to make rest time seem like time-out.

Uou may also want to refer to one of my main articles, “Dealing with a Nightly Bedtime Drama.” Although it refers to night-time sleep, there may be some pointers in it for nap-time.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education