One of the common signs of giftedness is a lower sleep need at a younger age. Not all gifted kids show this lack of needing naps, but it is correlated. If your child got rid of most naps at 18 months and is still happy as a clam until bedtime, then that is correlated with giftedness. That doesn’t mean that your average-sleeping child isn’t gifted. And, some gifted kids need more sleep than average kids. (And as an adult, my sleep need has certainly settled down to higher than average. Darn adolescence.) (#2 needs more than average sleep, too! I blame puberty.)
If someone says, “losing naps early is correlated with intelligence” that does not mean that your regularly-napping kid is dumb. It does not mean that forcing your kid to sleep less will make them smarter (in fact, probably the opposite). It just means that it’s ok for some kids, even little kids, not to nap. And it’s a specific type of kid who may have joys and challenges that are also correlated with giftedness. (#2 cannot understand how #1 copes with a kid that young who needs not-significantly-more sleep than the parents. I would go insane if my preschooler didn’t sleep a lot. Reason #428 why I don’t have kids.)
Gifted kids can be pretty intense. One of the reasons neither DH nor I could be SAHP while DC is small is because we would not get those breaks that most parents get. Go go going from dawn to sometime past dusk is exhausting for parents, even if not for the kid. We need other people to share the burden of intensity and to be entertaining and new and different. Preschool, other kids, other adults… necessary for our sanity. And that question, “Is there any good reason for hir to be reading so young?” YES. Sweet sweet quiet time for mommy and daddy.
My theory: when they get a lot of stimulation, gifted kids nap just as much as other kids. Gifted kids just need more new things to need to make those dendrite connections that get made during sleep. DC naps the first few weeks at a new preschool. (We can tell ze has stopped when they stop sending home wet clothing.) DC naps a lot when we go to large cities ze’s never been to before and sees all sorts of things ze’s never seen. Ze used to suddenly just conk out on DH’s shoulder when overstimulated. If you can keep your kid appropriately challenged, then you may see less of this not sleepingness. But it is hard to get ability-level stimulation in an age-level based system. Especially in the US.
Related recent post from wandering scientist. About the parallel universes we with low sleep need kids live in.
Do you wish you got more down-time?