On Dropping The Morning Nap And Introducing Crib Time

I'll admit it, I was dreading dropping the morning nap for purely selfish reasons. I wanted my time, and I wanted it at least twice a day. But as the afternoon nap became less and less of an assurance and more and more of a frustration, I knew it was time. If you read my monthly updates on Eli, you'll remember that I attempted to drop the morning nap around 15 months. When it was pretty much an utter failure, we went back to it at 16 months, then at 17 months, he was sort of forced into dropping it due to traveling and just plain being busy. But by this month (18 months next week!) the morning nap has been completely obliterated and it's no question that Eli will just take one nap around 1 p.m. each day.

For you mommas that are staring down the pipe of dropping the morning nap, I wish I had more advice for you, but really I got nothing. There are plenty of resources online if you just search "toddler, dropping the morning nap" or something similar.

BUT I do have some good news for you: CRIB TIME.


I normally try to steer away from too many posts/details on the practical side of raising babies and toddlers. I just feel like it's such a personal choice depending on personality and family dynamics that I'm an advocate of just doing what's best for you - it's not gonna matter in the long run. And neither will this. But oh goodness, it was just too good not to share with you all.

I started it with Eli last week and I have to say it's the most genius thing ever created by a parenting expert. Essentially, it's teaching kiddos independent play by giving them anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour of playing alone in their crib. I'd heard about it from a few moms and knew I'd want to do it, but it took a while for me to feel confident that Eli wouldn't just fall asleep during it.
For us, crib time looks like this: I make a huge deal of Eli getting to go into his crib to play during "crib time." We pick out books and stuffed animals, maybe a few trucks and put each one into his crib. I leave the curtains wide open so it's nice and bright in there, turn on some music like Songs for Saplings (Free!) or Rain for Roots (Easy on the ears for adults.) and then I leave and shut the door. Right now, he can go about 20-35 minutes, and we're slowly working our way up to an hour. I always know he's done because all the toys get thrown out of the crib followed by lots of fussing. (I try to get up there as fast as I can to keep it a positive experience.)

I know you can survive without a video monitor, but lemme tell ya, this is the best time ever to have one. I loved watching him read his books and play with his trucks. It was genius the stuff he was coming up with. He did quite a bit of dancing and singing too, which was hands down my favorite part. I sent that pic up there to Mike on the very first day we attempted it. Eli read his books for probably the first 20 minutes of it!

Plus, an unexpected bonus is that it sorta resets Eli. Since he wakes around 8 a.m., I try to do crib time around 10 a.m., since often that's when he's getting a little clingy and wants me to entertain him more. But I've found when I give him crib time, he always comes out quite a bit happier.

I found this article an awesome resource for why and how to introduce it to your child and what to expect, depending on their age/personality. Check it out if you'd like to do it too.

Anyone else do this? How has it gone for you?

pssst. If you're new here, welcome! Here's a little bit more about me and what you'll find here on Oakland Avenue - it's all about motherhood - the great, the gross, the grace and everything in between. If you'd like to read a few, here's a spot to get started. You can also find me talking all about mommy stuff over on Facebook and Instagram each day. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this post!


  1. Awesome! This is so perfect for a child with a personality that thrives on some alone time to re-charge. Plus, you are teaching Eli wonderful habits and you are getting some time to re-set too, which we know is just as important! I remember trying this with Lewis for a while, but whenever I put him in his crib alone, he thinks it's punishment. What works well for us is making sure there is a time in the morning when the babies are sleeping when he gets to play with toys in the front room quietly, and by himself. Especially right after breakfast, I read my bible and expect the kids to either watch their show or do an activity without disturbing me. Somedays it goes better than others, but I think it's a good routine for us. I'm looking forward to incorporating a more 'official' quiet time for Lewis when he drops his afternoon nap (EEK!). I've already stopped calling it 'nap time' and instead say it's his 'rest time'. I just explain that I don't mind if he plays, but he must be in his room for at least 1 hour. So far, he mostly just falls asleep - but I'm hoping it will ease the transition someday - because mommy needs that time to regroup!

  2. This is a great idea! I'm definitely going to try this. We switched to one nap a couple months ago without much fuss. (My son doesn't sleep much anyway.) But there is a moment around 11:30 when he's too tired to know what to do with himself. I've been letting him watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood during that time, but I feel bad for letting him watch TV. Still, it gives him the down time that he needs before lunch and then nap. I'll see if putting him in his crib in his room with some toys and books will help him relax and also give me a break. I was talking to a new doctor about finding "me time" a few weeks ago and she suggested I just take the time for myself that I need and tell my son he can play next to me or he can play in his room while I'm doing my thing. I think it's hard for me to realize that I can do that. I tend to be the mother that rushes in to make things OK instead of letting him cry. It's hard for me to discern when he really needs me and when it'd be best for him to figure out how to entertain or soothe himself.

  3. I did this with my son, but called it mama's shower time! He seemed to like it, but I have not done it since he switched to the big boy bed. I am interested in trying the 'room time' as the article you linked suggested! Great resource, thanks!

  4. Glad you found the article helpful, I love how it explains how it can work at any age. Room time sounds perfect for him since he's in a big bed!

  5. YES. I'm so glad to hear you have a "moment" with your son like I do with Eli where it's just ... tough! I'm totally with you on making everything okay for your kiddo. When there's just one, it's easy to do and I feel guilty if I don't - like I'm not doing my job or something! But in reality, I'm just hindering him! Giving him alone time is good for both of us - best of luck, I hope it works well and would love to hear an update!

  6. Oh my word, I can't believe Lewis is already starting to drop afternoon nap! Eeek is right! That's not too much longer then with Eli! I love the idea of a quiet time right after breakfast - I'll never forget when another mom told her kids, "No talking to mommy while she holds her coffee cup!" Brilliant! The children knew they needed to play quietly while she had her qt and drank her coffee. Even though I'm a morning person, I can see that being really helpful as a signal to the kids and giving you some extra time to wake up. Love these ideas, keep 'em coming!