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Solved! The Mysteries of Toddler Naps

In the movie Honey, I Blew Up The Kid, a gigantic toddler escapes from his playpen and goes on a rampage that wrecks part of Las Vegas. What set the 2-year-old off? His father suggested a nap. Although this particular toddler may have been 50 feet tall, his behavior was far from unusual. As Robin Ross, a Montclair, NJ, mother of 3-year-old (three-foot-tall) twins, discovered, regular-size children can wreak almost as much havoc. "If the boys don't want to nap, they practically dismantle their room in protest," Ross says of her sons, Daniel and Adam. "They pull the sheets and blankets off, the shades down, and throw all their clothes out of the drawers."

As a parent, it can be tough to keep up with your toddler's developmental Indy 500, let alone figure out his evolving nap habits. One day your child is sleeping like, well, a baby through both a morning and afternoon siesta. The next, his eyes refuse to close at the expected time. Should you enforce a specific nap time? Won't your child be a basket case without it? Is he just not sleepy today  -- or is he ready to give up napping forever? We have the information you need to help your child get the rest he needs.

Nancy Kalish writes often about child development issues.

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