Help A Reader Out: Toddler Crying Before Naps

Hello readers! Please share any experience/insight you have with this situation:

Sum said…

Hi Val – I scanned all of these questions/comments and even the link to Reader Nap Questions, but they all seem to be for babies much younger than mine, so I have to ask my question (sorry in advance for the length) – desperately hoping you can help!

My almost-17mo old (take note–child is now almost 18 months old) son has generally been a great night sleeper. He still cries for 2-5 min when I put him down at night but he does not cry at all when my husband puts him down (though we use the same routine) so we chalk it up to him just liking me better 🙂 and having a harder time separating. Either way, he falls asleep on his own and sleeps all night.

Naptime has never been so easy. He has always been a champion fighter in this case. (Currently at one nap per day – dropped morning nap a few months back, so it’s not a dropping issue). Sometimes he has stretches or days where he’ll go down without a fight, but it is regular for him to have days where he will cry for awhile before falling asleep. Until 2-3 weeks ago, he would eventually fall asleep, though sometimes after 30+min of crying. Now he has been crying for an entire hour with very little breaks. I am almost 100% sure it is not teething/sickness or anything else – he is totally normal at all other times of the day and at night. So I just let him cry for that hour because I want to keep the principle of naptime and parent-direction sacred. I have to let you know that I work and so our nanny puts him down 4 days a week – but I have told her the rules and she says she abides by them (although the angst of working outside the home is that you never really know if that’s what’s going on – I really hope that lack of consistency is not what’s causing this!).

Anyway, I guess my main questions are – why do I still have a crier?! Is there any chance that he just doesn’t need a nap anymore? Am i being too hard on him to let him cry that hour and then just give up on the nap? Today we tried putting books in his crib so he’d have something to do besides cry, and he’s still in there screaming… any ideas? THANK YOU for taking the time to answer – I LOVE your blog and appreciate all the time you put into it to help us moms out here!!

Plowmanators said…


Yes, he still needs a nap FOR SURE, so that isn’t it.

You know, there are so many angles here I am thinking this might be a good “help a reader out question.” I don’t have experience with this age group crying before naps, and experience counts for a lot. Would you be okay with me posting this as a question to see if a reader has ideas for you?

Sum said…

Hey Val – Sorry I just saw your response! I had been checking back regularly but skipped a couple weeks with the Thanksgiving craziness. Yes, I would love for you to share my question with your audience – feel free to paraphrase my ramblings as needed :). A month after my original comment we’re still dealing with lots of crying at naptime (but perfection at night, which I am thankful for). Also – fyi, I had a talk with our nanny and she really seems to be consistent in letting him CIO for the nap (plus my husband has been home a lot lately and can vouch for it). Thanks!