OK, what do you do with a 3 year old that very definitely needs a nap but is refusing? She is so tired but will not lay still long enough to fall asleep. When her eyes get heavy, she wiggles all over, gets up, runs around the room etc.
After trying many things I finally thought of something I used when one of mine got that way. A Kitchen timer.
I set the timer and told her that if she did not lay there I was going to reset it every time I heard her or caught her out of the bed. The first day it was reset a zillion times. She was upset about the resetting but would not stay in bed. This was not working.
Next day, I tried a different approach. I told her if she did not lay still with her eyes closed I would reset it. She did not want me resetting it! So, she stayed there with her eyes closed. Several hours later woke up and stayed in bed waiting for the alarm to go off!! Finally she called me and asked if it was time to get up since it was on the zero but not ringing. She then asked if she took a nap!
Yesterday, forget it. Nothing worked again, she was not falling for that trick again. The resetting did not phase her, she just wiggled and got up every time she felt she was falling asleep.
No naps and we have a real grump and nasty little girl by the time her mom comes.