Getting your toddler to nap may prevent tantrums later in the day.

Tantrums in Toddlers With Naps

by Melissa Gagnon

Parents with toddlers are certainly not strangers to tantrums. Because toddlers are unable to express their emotions or employ problem-solving skills as adeptly as adults can, this can lead to frustration and tantrums. Tiredness is one common trigger for toddler tantrums. Parents may wonder what to do if their toddler refuses to nap or if the mention of a nap causes an outburst. Dealing appropriately with a tantrum and calming your toddler down enough to nap or have some quiet time will ease frustration for both parent and toddler.

1. Refusing Naps

There may come a day when your toddler begins to refuse naps, throwing tantrums and possibly climbing out of bed. It is easy to become frustrated when this happens because you know your toddler needs a nap or he will likely be irritable later in the day. If your toddler is still taking two naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, consider transitioning him to one early afternoon nap. Establish a calming pre-nap routine such as reading or listening to calm music for a smoother transition to get your toddler ready for sleep. If all else fails and your toddler will not nap, adjust his bedtime to an hour earlier so he still gets the amount of sleep he needs each day.

2. Preventing Tantrums

Preventing a pre-nap tantrum can make it easier for you to get your toddler to settle down and sleep. A common tantrum trigger is exhaustion, so begin getting ready for a nap before your child is overly tired. Watch your child for signs such as yawning, rubbing her eyes and crankiness to tell when she is getting tired. Make naps part of your daily schedule and stick to it. Toddlers will expect the nap if it happens at the same time each day. Allow your toddler to make some choices -- let her choose the book to read before the nap or the soft toy she'd like to snuggle in bed.

3. Handling Tantrums

If your toddler melts into a tantrum, stay calm. Yelling and getting upset will only fuel the behavior. It is acceptable to ignore the tantrum and wait to speak calmly with your toddler when the behavior subsides. Once your toddler has calmed down, encourage him to use his words to express his feelings and if possible, return to your nap preparation routine.

4. Alternatives to Naps

If your toddler will not nap and you feel like you have tried everything, establish a time during the day for your toddler to recharge. Toddlers who don't nap can benefit from some quiet time reading, listening to calm music, or playing with quiet toys alone in bed. Giving your toddler a little space may even lead to a short nap if she happens to doze off while quietly relaxing in a comfortable spot. Make this time part of your routine and your toddler may even begin to enjoy this time of relaxation.

Photo Credits

  • enfant qui dort image by Christophe Fouquin from Fotolia.com