Five signs your child is ready to drop a nap
If there is one thing I could hold onto forever as a parent, it would be naps!
Naps are a wonderful thing for both children and parents and I am the first to admit that when my son finally dropped his nap, I went through a legitimate mourning process.
Truthfully, I think everyone could benefit from a nap at any age, but there does come a time when your little will no longer need one or any (gasp) of their naps.
So how do you know when it’s time to transition from two naps to one or time to drop that nap all together?
Here are Five signs you can look out for that might just indicate your child is ready to transition.
1) He has started to refuse one or all of his naps.
One of the most common signs that your little is ready to drop a nap, is when the nap gradually gets shorter and shorter over time, and eventually he refuses it all together.
For some children it might seem quite sudden and for other’s it will be a gradual process. But you want to make sure before you determine you will drop the nap, that it’s been at least a few weeks of this consistent pattern.
One very common scenario is if your child is currently taking two naps (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and the morning nap is significant, but the afternoon nap becomes shorter and shorter. As your child gets older, he will have the ability to go longer stretches without needing a nap, especially in the afternoon.
2) The appropriate awake times don’t align with the number of naps.
As mentioned, awake times start to lengthen in time as your child gets older, which often leads to one nap eliminating naturally. When the afternoon naps start to blend into bedtime, you want to consider moving up bedtime instead of continuing to attempt that last nap of the day. Especially if you’ve noticed a shift in your child’s nighttime sleep.
3) Your child is waking earlier than normal for the day.
Early morning wake-ups can be one of the most frustrating situations to figure out, but they are almost always attributed to daytime sleep.
If your child is sleeping too much during the day it can affect her ability to sleep longer throughout the night and into early morning, simply because her body is already getting the sleep she needs during the day.
4) His naps are no longer appropriate for his age.
While all children are different developmentally, there are general recommendations you can follow for daytime sleep based on your child’s age. This should give you an idea of whether or not your child needs to continue with his current nap schedule or start to transition soon.
4-6 months- 3/4 naps (transition from 3-4)
7-9 months-2/3 naps (transition from 3 to 2)
10-12 months-2 naps
13-16 months-2/1 nap (transition from 2 to 1)
17+ months-1 nap
3.5-4 years- no nap consistently needed (transition from nap to no nap or occasional lay down/quiet time)
5) Your child’s general sleep cycle seems “off”
I will often see that children start to have somewhat of chaotic sleep overall when it is time for them to transition.
If all of the sudden your champion nighttime sleeper is waking up throughout the night, or is crashing at different points in the day, it might be due to her nap schedule.
This isn’t always the case, but it is definitely worth considering and taking a look at the other signs to asses whether this may be the reason for the shift.
If you’ve determined that your child is likely ready to transition from her current nap schedule, then it is best to take a gradual approach and you might not be sure where to start.