There are many completely valid and not at all ridiculous reasons why your 3yo is not napping. Like, for example, the fact that he has a pocket. And also is wearing red underpants.
Humor Parenting

The Top 20 Reasons Your Preschooler Isn’t Taking His Nap (And Yes, It’s Your Fault)

Look. I know that nap time is the only time you get away from the tiny, sticky fingers and wild, maniacal eyes of your 3-year-old.

That even when you’re performing the most intimate of acts – inserting a tampon, scrubbing your nether regions, pulling out a wayward chin hair – said preschooler is all up in your business, asking questions you don’t want to answer.

I know this, because I, too, have a 3-year-old.

He’s everywhere, like a spider monkey on uppers.

When I’m unloading the dishwasher, he’s “helping” me put the Tupperware away by hurling bowls into the cabinet at 100 mph. When I’m folding laundry, he’s cannonballing into the towels, then howling when he ricochets into a nearby wall. When I’m cleaning up dog puke, organizing my office, sweeping up crumbs, and trying, with all of my might, to put together a sensible, vegetable-laden dinner, he’s T.H.E.R.E.

Granted, I love the kid. He’s a sweetheart, and most of the time, I like being in his company.

But when that blessed mid-day nap time rolls around, and I finally – FINALLY – get an hour to myself to work, and that miniature pinball of insanity doesn’t lie down and go the *bleep* to sleep, I have to ask myself why. WHYYYYYY? But seriously, why?

Since I’ve figured it out (and am a very generous woman), I’ve decided to share this wisdom so you, too, can join me in meeting the needs of the preschoolers we’ve been neglecting for years.

The Top 20 Reasons Your Preschooler Isn’t Taking His Nap

  1. There’s a pocket in his shorts. Seriously. A pocket.
  2. He has teeth. LOTS of them. A whole mouthful. 
  3. He didn’t get his lunch. Yes, he knows you fed him lunch, but he didn’t really eat it. He was pretending to eat it. 
  4. He wants a snack. See #3. 
  5. Likewise, he is incredibly thirsty. So thirsty that he will die if he doesn’t get a drink. Yes, he sees the water bottle you’ve thoughtfully put by his bed. No, he wants juice. 
  6. He isn’t tired. He’s crying because he wants out of bed, not because he’s tired. No, he did not get up at 5:30 this morning. YOU GOT UP AT 5:30 THIS MORNING.
  7. He needs a new Band-Aid on his ant bite. He didn’t take the other one off. It fell off. No, he doesn’t know how it got on the wall. 
  8. He heard a noise that woke him up. A loud, scary noise. 
  9. It isn’t nap time yet. It was already nap time today and you missed it, so now it’s not nap time anymore.
  10. He is reading all of the books in his room because he didn’t get a story before bed. Well, he didn’t get the right story before bed. 
  11. He is mad at you and he can’t sleep when he’s very, very, very, very angry. 
  12. He has a bellyache. And his elbow hurts. 
  13. He wants to play with you! Isn’t that fun? Play-doh time and stickers. He wants stickers. He wants all the stickers. NOW.
  14. He remembered that he had to tell you about what he did at school yesterday. And the day before that. And the one before that.
  15. He fell out of his bed. No, he wasn’t jumping on his bed, he just fell out. 
  16. He has on underpants. And they are red.
  17. The sun is shining too bright and it hurts his eyes. He needs sunglasses. No, the curtain needs to be OPEN. Don’t shut it. 
  18. He wants a special surprise for taking his nap. Yes, he already slept. Yes, he is actually sleeping right now, so he would like his special surprise.
  19. He wants a kiss. Or two. Or nine. Or fourteen. Never mind. No kisses. 
  20. He wants Daddy to put him to bed. Not you. NOT YOUUUUUU. Daddy.  

So, you see? Clearly, we’ve been missing all of these perfectly valid reasons behind the sleeplessness of our young children. And if we could all just agree to meet their needs, we’d never have to worry about giving up that blessed hour of sweet, sweet freedom ever again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to attend to my not napping child, who is wailing something about pepperoni and a missing sock, the former, something he was supposed to have eaten, and the latter, something he was supposed to have worn.

Clearly, I’ll need to update my list.

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About the Author

Kelly Coon is the editor and a writer for Blue Ocean Brain, and a recent addition to the Washington Post Talent Network. She is also the mother to three little boys, the eldest of whom is nearly taller than she is, a fact that devastates her daily. She’s the author of a test prep guide, ACT STRATEGY SMART, which shouldn’t bore your teenager too much; the revised version, ACE THE ACT, might. No promises. Read more at