SHE FIXED HER 3-YEAR-OLD’S BED­TIME BAT­TLES BY NIX­ING NAPS

Tonya Simpson, at­tor­ney in a DA’s of­fice; mom of a 15-, an 11- and a 3-year-old; Baby­lon, NY

Working Mother - - Sleep -

The prob­lem: Be­cause he couldn’t stay up as late as his older sib­lings, noth­ing could en­tice Tonya’s youngest, Xavier, to go to bed and stay there. His mom tried new sheets (not even the Min­ions worked), re­wards ( like spe­cial break­fasts), sound ma­chines and get­ting into bed with him for “a lit­tle while.” “I even went as far as get­ting a fancy night light. That was an epic fail be­cause my son kept bring­ing it out to us!” ad­mits Tonya.

The so­lu­tion: A cou­ple of times, Xavier skipped his nap—and slept all night with­out wak­ing. Although Tonya didn’t pur­pose­fully al­low it, she knew a good thing when she saw it; now if he doesn’t nod off by 2 p.m., she keeps him up.

The re­sult: He gets sleepier ear­lier and goes to bed more will­ingly—at least 99 per­cent of the time. Xavier gets a lit­tle cranky in the p.m., but as long as they keep him mov­ing in the back­yard or play­ground, he is OK.

Her ad­vice: “Skip­ping a nap is worth it. You get an ear­lier bed­time, which has been ben­e­fi­cial,” she says, adding that her hus­band, who works shifts, isn’t around to help most nights.

The ex­pert’s take: A Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity study sug­gested that when kids are ready to give up their nap (usu­ally around age

3 or 4), it can lead to longer night­time z’s—and longer at­ten­tion spans too. Just be warned:

“If you take away a 3-year-old’s nap, you must com­mit to an ear­lier bed­time,” says Dr. Roban. Kids this age still need 11 to 12 hours of sleep, so you must make up the ex­tra time at night, as Tonya did. Oth­er­wise, the sleep de­pri­va­tion can lead to night wak­ing, early ris­ing and more, says Dr. Roban. Just don’t ditch naps for kids younger than 3; ba­bies and tod­dlers still need ’em.

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