As parents, it is only natural to be concerned if your toddler becomes ill. We only want the best for our children, so we want to do everything in our power to help them feel better. The issue is that sometimes, we can try to do too much, and it can end up doing more harm than good. One area where this is particularly relevant is how long to let your toddler nape when they are not feeling well.

How long should you let them sleep, and what else can you do to make them feel better? In this article, we'll explore the ideal duration your child should nap when they are sick, and provide additional tips to help them recover.

Key Points of Navigating Napping When Your Toddler is Sick

  • To help your toddler nap when sick, maintain the same routine, provide comfort and support, don’t let yourself get too stressed, and consider visiting the doctor if symptoms are not improving or worsening.
  • For toddlers over three months, sleep is the best medicine when sick. If they are under three months with a temperature of over 100.4, contact a pediatrician.
  • Typically toddlers should nap around 11-14 hours per day, according to, but if they are sick let them sleep for an hour longer.
  • Keep your child properly hydrated and nourished when sick, add a humidifier to the room, and rub their back as they lie in the crib.

How Long Should Your Toddler Nap When They Are Sick?

sick toddler
Do not skip any naps when your toddler is sick, but don't let them sleep too long either.


First, we need to mention that if your child is sick for a prolonged amount of time and you become concerned, you should speak to your pediatrician. This guide is not certified medical advice but instead general guidance.

With that said, according to, toddlers should nap for about 11-14 hours per day. However, things may be a bit different when your child is sick. If they become ill, then most experts will advise that you can let your toddler sleep for an hour longer than they typically nap, but you don’t want to take it much further than that. Don’t let your child sleep longer than 2.5-3 hours past their normal nap times because they will likely be lacking the additional nourishment that they need.

Yes, Let Your Toddler Nap When They are Sick

Chances are good that your toddler will get sick from time to time. In fact, studies prove that most toddlers will get sick six to eight times per year, so illness does not mean that you are a bad parent.  

If your toddler is sick, then you need to let them rest, and you should not let them skip their regular naps. If your child is under three months old and they have a temperature over 100.4 degrees, then contact the pediatrician. 

For toddlers over three months old, sleep is the best medicine. Let them take their regular naps and check on them every hour to ensure that they are breathing normally and sleeping comfortably.

Signs that your toddler may be sick include:

  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Glazed eyes
  • The sudden appearance of a rash
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Diarrhea or vomiting

Quality sleep is essential when your toddler is sick, but you must also ensure that your child is getting help with their other needs. They need to be properly hydrated and nourished. 

Helping Your Toddler If They Are Unable to Fall Asleep 

4 month old baby sleeping
Parents should make their children as comfortable as possible when they are sick.

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Since your toddler is still at a young age, falling asleep can already be difficult for them under normal circumstances. However, it can prove even more challenging when they are feeling under the weather. Nevertheless, it is essential that you help your toddler nap during this time. There are simple ways you can help to ease the process:

Stick to Their Routine

The best way to ensure that your toddler sleeps when they are sick is to maintain the same nap and bedtime routine that they have now. This is the best way for children and adults to keep their circadian rhythm (day and night cycle) in check, which is essential for restful sleep night after night. It can also provide a sense of comfort and familiarity during this stressful time. By keeping their routine consistent, you are helping them to feel more secure and relaxed, which can also aid in their recovery process.

Provide Comfort and Support

While you may not be a medical doctor, you can help your toddler to fall asleep by taking care of their minor needs to help them sleep. For instance, you might add a humidifier to the room to loosen up congestion, provide Tylenol to help quell a fever or body aches, suction their nose to help them breathe, or all of the above.

It's also important to provide a little extra support when you put them to sleep. That may include picking them up every once in a while during the night to feed or rock them to sleep. It could also be as simple as rubbing their back as they lie in their crib.

Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Stressed

It is easy for parents to get stressed out when their toddler won’t go to sleep, especially when they are sick and crabby. However, if you let the anxiety get to you and you start to get angry, then you will only make the situation worse. Instead, find a way to put yourself at ease. Turn the lights off in your toddler’s bedroom, turn on a sound machine, and try to relax. Your baby will likely calm down with you and go to sleep.

Visit the Doctor

In the case that your toddler refuses to sleep for over 24 hours, then it is wise to contact your pediatrician for guidance. Additionally, if you are noticing their symptoms are not improving or are worsening, that's another sign to contact your doctor. Trust your instinct, and if your gut tells you that your child needs more intensive care, consider bringing them to the hospital for further evaluation. Remember, it's always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your child's health.

Miscellaneous Tips for Helping Your Toddler Feel Better

In addition to the strategies already mentioned, there are other tips and tricks that you can use to help your toddler get the rest they need and feel better. Keep in mind that every child is different, so always do what works best for your little one. By following these tips and seeking medical advice when necessary, you can help speed up their recovery when they are under the weather .Consider the following suggestions:

Don’t Let the Kids Sleep In Your Bed

It is very tempting for many of us to hear our toddler’s cries, feel bad, and then let them sleep in our bed. However, by doing so, you may only be making matters worse. Since they are used to their own bed, they will not sleep well when they are with you, and it will take longer for them to get better. Plus, if your child is coughing and sneezing all night long, it is more likely that they will get you sick as well, and that doesn’t help anyone.

Provide a Healthy Diet

When your toddler is sick, then a proper diet is essential. Sick kids can easily get dehydrated, so you must supply them with enough fluids. Water is important during this time. Also, provide them with foods that have high water content, including applesauce, small pieces of cantaloupe or watermelon, and chicken soup and broth.

Keep Them Happy

It is essential that you let your toddler nap when they are sick. But when they aren’t sleeping, try to keep them entertained and distracted from their sickness. Since they need their rest, you shouldn’t require them to do anything physically exhaustive. However, you can let them watch their favorite movie, make them giggle with silly faces, play simple games, or do anything else that will keep their spirits up.


In the end, it is important that your toddler gets enough sleep when they are sick. Just be mindful not to overdo it. Let them take their naps and supplement that rest with medicine and love and care. We aren’t happy when our toddlers get sick, but by following these guidelines, they will get better soon.

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