Forget what the Jones’s are doing—there’s no need for your kids to drop that last nap….like, ever.
Mums love naptime because it gives us a soothing moment’s respite to enjoy a cuppa that’s still warm, fold some laundry, or just scroll through Pinterest looking for recipe inspo we’ll never use. Kids love naps—well, they don’t, but their brains do—because it boosts their ability to retain knowledge.
For this reason, science suggests we discard the old-thinking of a developmental ‘readiness’ to do away with napping, and instead try to hold on to them for as long as possible. Research shows that dropping naps for young kids has no physiological benefit—in fact, only disadvantage, in that less shuteye erodes the power of long-term memory.
One particular cognitive research project divided a group of young children into two. One group was to stay awake during the day, the other to nap. Those who did not nap could not recall 12 to 15% more details learned earlier in the day than those who took a midday siesta.
The bottom line? Don’t force the end of naps. Even if your little one sails through an afternoon without snoozing, you might be surprised if you offer the nap and they conk out like a ton of bricks. Those critters are pretty convincing actors…but they really don’t know what’s good for them.
And if they flat-out refuse to snooze? Make bedtime a little earlier, to pay back some sleep debt…and make everyone’s life a little easier.