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My Toddler Won’t Relax!

Parents of toddlers know that they are high energy little people who love to be on the go. Everything is new and exciting. Toddlers love to explore by touching and playing. All of this exploration can cause a toddler to be a bit tired and need a nap. At any given time, they will show many signs that they are tired. What can a parent do if their toddler won’t relax? Let’s go over signs of being tired first and then present you with solutions.

Watch for these signs as indicators that your toddler is ready for a nap:

  • Disagreeable temperament
  • Yawning and stretching
  • Crying

Disagreeable Temperament

When your toddler is overstimulated and tired, he or she will become a bit disagreeable. You may state that it is time to leave, and they may protest and tell you no. Sometimes your toddler will yell and try to run away so that they can keep playing. Overly tired toddlers tend to protest more because they need a nap.

Yawning and Stretching

Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we are doing with our toddlers that we need visual signs of nap time. Not all toddlers become disagreeable and argumentative when they are tired. Some toddlers will simply begin yawning and stretching more. The same is true for adults. A yawn and stretch are our body’s way of adding oxygen and increasing blood flow to help keep us awake. If you notice this sign, then it is surely time to put your little one down for a nap.


One of the most obvious signs of being overly tired is crying. This is your little one crying out to you for a nap. If your toddler begins crying and they have exhibited other signs such as yawning and stretching, lay them down for a nap. An overly tired toddler will often fall asleep very quickly. After a nice nap, your little one will be ready to play and explore once again.

So, you have noticed all of the triggers that your toddler needs a nap. You have taken your toddler to his or her bed or crib, and now your little one will not relax. What could be the problem? Why is your toddler unwilling to fall asleep, and what can you do to help comfort your toddler? There are six reasons why your toddler may not be able to relax enough to fall asleep, and each comes with a tip on how to help your little one drift off to dreamland.

6 reasons why your toddler is not relaxing (and tips to help them relax and achieve a nap):

  • Over-stimulation Has Toddler Unable To Sleep
  • Toddler Is Uncomfortable
  • The Room Is Not Dark Enough
  • The Temperature In The Room Is Not Right
  • Toddler Is Hungry or Thirsty
  • Calming Techniques Were Not Used

Is your toddler too stimulated?

In some cases, a toddler has done so many activities that they cannot fall asleep. The same is true for adults. If we have very busy days, we might find ourselves tossing and turning in an attempt to relax at night time. Our minds are racing. The same is true for your toddler. He or she may be replaying all of the fun that they had during the day. If their mind is unable to rest, then they may not fully fall asleep, or it may take longer to achieve a nap.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you take note of all signs of a needed nap. Do not let your toddler become so over-stimulated that he or she is unable to relax enough to fall asleep. Keep an eye on the time and set reminders in your phone to trigger alarms when it is time to lay your little one down for a much-needed nap.

Is your toddler comfortable?

If your toddler is tossing and turning and unable to sleep, he or she may be uncomfortable. To fix this, treat nap time like night time. Put your toddler in comfortable pajamas. If your little one was outside playing for an extended period, then consider a quick bath to wash off dirt and sweat. We can relax easier when we are clean and comfortable.

How bright or dark is your toddler’s room?

It is difficult to relax enough to fall asleep in a room during the middle of the day. If the sun is shining through the window, it is going to bright in the bedroom. It is much easier to fall asleep in a darkened room. If your toddler is attempting to sleep in a room that is still lit by natural light, then consider purchasing blinds that will limit the sun’s rays from entering the room or blackout curtains. These will help darken the room and make it more peaceful and relaxing for nap time.

How about the temperature of your toddler’s room?

Most people have a difficult time relaxing in a room that is either too hot or too cold. If you notice the room is warmer than normal, either remove some blankets or turn on a fan. If you have air conditioning, then lower the temperature, so the room is more comfortable. If the room is too cold, then either turn the heat up or give your toddler an extra blanket. You may also want to consider footed or flannel pajamas in cooler rooms. It is much easier to fall asleep when we are comfortable, and the same is true for toddlers.

Is your toddler hungry or thirsty?

Being hungry or thirsty is not relaxing. Before you put your toddler down for a nap, reflect the last time he or she had water or food. If it has been a while, then definitely offer some water. Being thirsty can cause toddlers to be crankier. The crankier they get, the harder it will be to get them to fall asleep. The same is true for snacks. If it has been a while, then offer a small snack like cheerios or crackers. It is much easier to fall asleep when the stomach is not fully empty.

Did you use calming techniques?

If you have a nighttime bedtime routine that includes essential oils, nursery music, or a night light, your toddler may become accustomed to this process. He or she may expect these same routines to be followed at nap time.

We cannot always diffuse relaxing lavender or play calming nursery music if we are not at home or on the go.

Toddlers may feel out of routine and unable to nap if they are overly tired and out of their calm down routine. If your toddler is not at home and attempting to nap, you may want to try to replicate the at-home process. Play soft and calming nursery music on your phone, bring your little one’s favorite bed toy and if you use relaxing lavender essential oil, then buy it in a roller to-go container.

Paying attention to the signs of exhaustion combined with understanding why your toddler may not be able to relax enough to nap will help you rectify the exhaustion. Stick with routines, utilize room darkening curtains, make sure your toddler is comfortable and not hungry or thirsty. These solutions should help your little one achieve relaxation and a nap.

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