The 7 Stages of Toddler Naptime


It’s 1pm. The toddler is fed, cleaned, calm. AND she just yawned. Ladies and gents, we have confirmation that yes, it is indeed toddler naptime.

My toddler, like most toddlers, isn’t a huge fan of the thing we call naps. They interfere with the rest of the day of doing whatever she damned well pleases, demanding snacks every 15 minutes and bossing me around.

But, young one, naps are an important part of your routine, I remind her.

Without a nap, you’ll be a grumpy arsehole by 5pm and probably pass out on the couch by 6pm. I don’t tell her this last bit but we BOTH know it’s true.

So off she trots. To her bedroom to go through our daily toddler naptime regime. I’ve uncovered there are seven stages she goes through most days and I have a sneaky suspicion she’s not the only one.

So, without further ado, behold the seven stages of toddler naptime.

Stage One: Denial

Stage one of toddler naptime always starts with No.

I don’t need a nap. I not tired. No nap today, mummy. I’m a big girl now. 

Instead, I will dump out six boxes of puzzles and 2 containers of LEGO to prove to you how untired I am. 

Touche, child. Touche.

Stage Two: Bargaining. AKA Mummy I Need You 

The naptime negotiation stage can take a while and often involves several barterings back and forth. Sometimes it’s for a drink or some milk. Other times it’s for another story or another stuffed animal.

I make promises I don’t want to make – I’ll lie down with you. I’ll tickle you for five minutes. You can sleep in mummy’s big bed.

toddler naptime - toddler laying in bed smiling
Source: Bigstock

She gives me sickly sweet smiles that make me think she’s actually going to listen to me and go to sleep. Then she rolls around, jumps on my head and body slams me until I get the sh*ts and leave.

Bugger this. I didn’t sign up for this.

Stage Three: Hide in a Corner and Shit my Pants

After I firmly shut the door and tell her it’s naptime (or no iPad later), it’s time for Stage Three where she hides in a corner and has a poo, knowing full well that I won’t make her go to sleep if she’s dirty.

During this stage, there’s no point in going in and trying to tell her to sleep. She’ll hide her face, tell me to go away and continue doing her business.

Stage Four: Avoidance. AKA: Craft an Epic Blanket Fort Using Every Single Pillow In the House

After she’s changed and back in MY bed, it’s time for Stage Four – Avoid Bedtime at All Costs.

How? By collecting every blanket and pillow in my bedroom (and other rooms if she’s sneaky enough), piling them on top of her and transforming my once-made bed into a jungle of comfort.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to sleep in a bed that’s overflowing with pillows and blankets? My toddler. That’s who. Oh no. Instead, she would rather roll around, take off her clothes and get herself stuck in her epic blanket fort.

toddler sitting in bed
Source: Bigstock

Stage Five: The Door 

I call this stage The Door because it’s when my daughter sneaks out of the room 700 gazillion times before checking to see where I am, sprinting back to bed and slamming the door behind her.

Sometimes she comes out and announces, “Good morning! I had a great nap today!” #NotTodaySatan. 

It’s about this time in our game that I start questioning if it’s too early for a drink.

Stage Six: Anger 

It’s also about the time in our game that I’m getting sick of this sh*t. Time for Mean Mummy to come out. Mean Mummy puts on her meanest face and firmly demands it’s either naptime or naughty corner.

The overtired devil child counteracts by throwing pillows, books and half of the contents of my drawers on the floor.

Stage Seven: Acceptance

She’s tired. I’m tired. There’s only one way to end this? Cuddles.

So back down I lie, next to her little body where she snuggles up close, grabs my hand and drifts off into sleep in a matter of seconds. Seriously… seconds. What the actual eff?

I breathe a sigh of relief as I clean up the trashed room, restock the bookshelf and put my underwear back into the drawers. Yep, ladies, this is what success looks like. It’s not pretty, but, hey, it’s better than having a toddler who hasn’t napped come 5pm.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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