My biggest advice on this topic is to try and keep naps as long as you can. All kids will have regressions with sleep when they are going through developmental leaps like crawling, walking, talking, etc. and sometimes parents mistake those small regressions for the readiness of their child to drop naps. Unfortunately, when we drop naps too early, they end up developing a sleep debt, becoming overtired, and then what should have been a small regression, turns into weeks, months, or even years of poor sleep. So, how do you know if your child is ready to drop naps? To start, here is a general timeframe of when kids transition down on their naps.
Timing of Nap Transitions
- 3 to 2 naps – Generally happens around 8 months.
- 2 to 1 nap – Can happen anywhere from 12-24 months (15-18 months being the most common). This is generally the hardest transition on our kids. So when they’re going through this… on the days they refuse 1 or both naps, remember early bedtimes! This allows for them to not develop a sleep debt and make the transition even harder on them (My daughter had many 5:30-6pm bedtimes through this month of transitioning)
- 1 to 0 naps – At least try until age 4. Even random days with naps can help them reboot. My twins are almost 5 years old and they still take a nap 2 days a week when they don’t have school.
- Quiet Time – Even 6 year olds can benefit from this. We all need some downtime throughout the day to just relax, even if it only lasts 30 minutes.
Signs That Your Child is Ready to Drop Naps (2-1 Transition)
- Consistently taking 20-30 minutes to fall asleep at naptime.
- Completely skipping their 2nd nap or
- Struggling to go to bed at a desirable time (6:30-7pm)
When these things happen for more than a couple of weeks, than most likely your little one is ready to go down to 1 nap. My rule of thumb is that if they are younger than 13 months of age, give them at least 3 weeks of consistently showing these ready signs before you transition. I say that because if they are just going through a developmental leap (walking), it should only affect their sleep for a short period. But if they are truly ready to drop down, the refusal or difficulty napping will stay consistent for a long period.
Tips on When you Actually Transition
- Desired time of nap is between 12:30-1pm and should be 2-2.5 hours long but starting off slightly earlier is fine until they are used to staying up those extra hours in the morning.
- Early Bedtimes! Same concept as above – their nap will be ending earlier than they are used to, so make bedtime earlier too until they are ready to stay up until their normal 7pm bedtime.
- Be Patient! This transition can take a month to get right. But they will get there eventually.
Signs They Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep During This Period (Or Any Period)
- Early Morning Wakings (Earlier than 5:30am)
- Middle of the Night Wakings
- Bedtime Struggles/Difficulty Falling Asleep
If naps are short or too early, you want to always make up for that missed sleep somewhere so they don’t develop a sleep debt and start having these issues.
Here is a link to how many hours your child should be sleeping based by age. If your little one isn’t getting the recommended sleep, then there may be sleep habits that need to be adjusted to achieve more quality sleep. Some parents think that their kid just doesn’t need a lot of sleep, and that is not true at all. All kids should be in these ranges for healthy development.
If they aren’t, please feel free to contact me for help on how to get them the desired amount of sleep. Even just a 30-minute phone call can help you get them on the right track. You can book a call directly on my Facebook Page or even go to my Contact page to fill out an Intake Form.