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Missed Naps Do In Fact Make Toddlers Crazy

napping toddlerWhen my toddler misses his daily nap, I can expect one of two consequences.

1. The missed nap will render my child completely miserable, irrationally moody, and irritable.

2. The missed nap will turn my toddler into a tyrant who could make any parent cower and pray for the arrival of bedtime.

An article on Jezebel this week points to a study led by the University of Colorado Boulder that confirms what every mother already knows well — skipping the daily nap does in fact make your toddler crazy, and affects their physical and mental health negatively in significant ways.

University of Colorado Boulder Assistant Professor Monique LeBourgeois, who led the study, said:

Many young children today are not getting enough sleep, and for toddlers, daytime naps are one way of making sure their ‘sleep tanks’ are set to full each day. This study shows insufficient sleep in the form of missing a nap taxes the way toddlers express different feelings, and, over time, may shape their developing emotional brains and put them at risk for lifelong, mood-related problems.

I can’t speak to the longer-term effects, but I can say with certainty that missing a nap alters the mood, and level of happiness of my toddler so dramatically that I will go to almost any length to make sure he scores that afternoon nap — for his sake — and my own.

Lately, he’s been resisting naps, and I tremble with fear at the thought of a day when naps are no more.

Does your toddler still nap? Do you notice a difference in his or her mood when naps are missed?

Read more of Crissy’s writing at Dear Crissy.
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