Until about the age of 5, most children need a mid-day nap to keep them fresh and energized.
A nap helps them regulate their moods, re-charge their batteries, and has even been shown to increase their intellectual performance.
If your child struggles to power down for a nap, there are great online resources to help. If you tend to take advantage of your child’s nap time to get things done around the house, consider whether your activity sounds might be signalling to your child that fun is being had… and that they’re missing out on it.
The same study linked above also suggests naps are good for adults’ memory, so go ahead and nap with your child, guilt-free. Tell yourself you’re leaving the mess/dishes/dinner prep for your child’s benefit, because you are an excellent parent. Yay, you!
When it comes to the point that your child is outgrowing afternoon naps, make sure you pull their bedtime forward to compensate. Even if they don’t need the mid-day perk-up, children still need a lot of sleep to support their raging physical and intellectual growth. This great article from healthychildren.org provides a handy chart of children’s sleep needs, and excellent sleep advice for your family, too.