Tips for Successful Naps (Toddler-Style!)

After a couple trips to the world with my kiddos, I’ve learned they are not the best at napping in hotels. Or strollers. Or at the same time so as to not wake each other up. They are really good at getting super cranky if they don’t nap, though. :wink: Any tips you’ve gleaned from past experiences? I know there must be something I haven’t thought of in my “we-all-need-a-break-and-mom-needs-a-margarita” desperation! We will have DD3 and DS1.5. DD doesn’t really nap much in our regular routine, but she does have rest time. And I’m assuming she will need naptime in Disney.

I plan to allocate more time for a break on our next trip (4 hours instead of my previous 3), so hopefully this helps. I’ve also thought about just touring until they pass out and staying in the parks. This is an option, although we are going in Aug or Sept, which means it will be rainy and hot so an afternoon break would be nice for DH and I as well! Also, we tried this last time and DD did NOT want to fall asleep, even though we walked to the Contemporary. She decided she was finally tired after waking up DS about three times, right before FoF was about to start. Haha.

I know there isn’t some magic solution, and every kid is different, but I am thinking some of you amazing Disney parents out there may have some ideas! Thanks!

I know every kid is different. My daughter loves naps. But when she doesn’t want to nap at hotels, I make the room as dark as possible, lie down next to her, and put on some sleep music. The me next to her part is key for her to stop wiggling. The only problem is that I tend to fall asleep too (and napping makes me cranky lol).

If my dd refused naps at Disney, I think I would still go back to the room for some quiet reading or a movie. I would want her to lay down and rest her body while watching the movie even if she didn’t want to sleep.

I hope this helps! I know its important for those little ones. My dd got sick while we were there last time, I think we over did it with her, despite the naps.

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I got nothing… My ds1 doesn’t even like napping at home :wink: when we took him last oct… He napped in the stroller, on the boat! And now I think about it… When ds5 was younger he would nap in the stroller on the ferry too! I’m no help but good luck and more power to you!!!

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Practice having them nap in the same room before your trip. That is the problem mine had when they were little. They were used to the same room but not the same bed like in the hotel.

I often took my older one swimming so the younger could sleep also. No she didn’t nap then but at least got the break from the park so she wasn’t as cranky and wasn’t waking the baby up.

The advice on laying down with them also has worked for me when they really need a nap. Definitely set an alarm though because you may fall asleep also and sleep longer then you intended.

Other option is to let them collapse in the park but leave early or arrive late some days to make up for that or have entire days off from the parks to relax.

I have used a combination of all of the above for our previous trips since we have always had at least one napping child at Disney.


DS4 stopped napping at 2. And DS18months is already starting to wean out of his daily nap ( :cry:). We still did park breaks when we went and only had DS2. It was alright, but I mostly felt like it was a waste of time and we ended up just having an early night most nights. With that being said, my mom always swore by taking us into “Its a Small World” to get us to nap on Disney Vacations.

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@combatjulie is spot on here - practice is key. Get them into a “Disney Routine” for about a week before the trip - use your intended wake-nap-sleep schedule, and have the nap conditions like they would be in a hotel room. Also, if you are in a different time zone, do everything during the practice week according to Eastern time - makes for easier mornings and bedtimes in the World.

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Oh no! Sick kids are so tough. My DD got sick last time, too! I felt so horrible as she threw up, and the CM’s were trying to be helpful… asking if she had gotten enough water, sleep, out of the heat, etc. We had taken a 6 hour break that day bc it was raining a lot but I think the week had caught up to her. She was happy she got a free shirt and princess Minnie out of it, but we ended up taking the next day as a resort day. Planning some half days and rest days next time that will hopefully help with the pace and sleep.

We’ve been when kids were DSs2/4 and DSs3/5, and only strategy we found was to get a double stroller with a big sunshade, then after lunch pee and snuggle into the stroller with a snack, then go for a LONG BORING walk, as far away from the crowds as possible (around hourglass lake, around Frontierland, around Asia in Animal Kingdom). Worked for the small one 70% of the time and the big one 25% of the time. So, not exactly batting out of the park, but better than the alternatives. Also, although I absolutely do NOT endorse TV for napping… showing them a movie they’d seen 40 times before (Winnie the Pooh) put the small one to sleep about 50% of the time and the big one about 20% of the time. Laying down in bed with either/both of them at the hotel worked 0% of the time, for both.
Let me know if you find something that works. :wink:

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My dd is a terrible napper but she definitely needs some snuggle/tv time at least at wdw. Even if she doesn’t sleep, it’s worth it. When she was younger I would kick everyone else out to the pool and turn off everything. Then I’d pull the curtain so it was dark and quiet and lay down with her. It didn’t always work, but at least she’d get some rest if not sleep.

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Whiskey. If you drink enough of it you won’t care what the kids do.


Haha! Always funny after the fact. :wink:

Adding to the packing list now…

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We have dd5 and ds18months this trip and I plan to head back to hotel noonish hit the pool for 30 minutes or so with both kids. The pool tires them out and calms them down. Then I’ll take ds back to the room to nap and about an hour later dh will bring dd back and they usually watch a show quietly while ds and I nap.

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last time we went ds was 4 and every afternoon we went to bed for a couple of hours, sometimes he would fuss but he was old enough to understand that if we didn’t nap we didn’t do the fun things later…usually that was pool time. This time should be ‘fun’ we are taking our ds now aged 7 and our 3 foster children 7, 8 and 12…and we will be doing nap time most days. we are there for 18 nights so we are going to need our chill time. Same rules if we don’t nap we don’t play…oh yeah lets see how that goes…lol

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I agree that as they get older it might get easier to rationalize with them! :smile: Hopefully… Ha!