1-0 Nap Transition (Around 24 - 36 Months of Age)
Anyone else get really sad when their babies stop napping? I remember it vividly, I was pregnant with my second dude and my eldest started to refuse his middle of the day nap. It would take us what felt like fooooorever for him to fall asleep for his nap, just for him to be awake 30 minutes later. What also started happening is when he napped (even for those 30 minutes) he would not settle out nicely before bed. He would protest bedtime, causing our bedtime to be pushed back, entering the overtired zone and leading to night wakings and early mornings. My other babe was due in a month, and my husband and I knew we didn’t want to be up with our brand new newborn and also our two year old.
So something had to give… and that was the middle of the day nap. *cue the tears*. I dreamt of the moment where I would have both my baby and my toddler sleeping, and I would be sipping on my hot coffee or napping or showering or binge watching Netflix, scrolling on my phone, and all the other things that mamas do when their babes nap. And nope - my dude had other plans. So at two years my son transitioned from 1 nap to no naps. My second due followed suit, and also ditched his nap around the same time, so I never did get to soak up the all the babies napping at the same time bliss! But thank goodness for Paw Patrol, am I right?
When does the 1-0 nap transition occur?
On average, a child usually transitions to no naps around 2.5 years. Some children keep their nap closer to 3 years and there are also some 5 year olds still napping some days. My take on that is if its working for your family, then keeping doing it!
If however, you are finding your child starting to not settle at bedtime anymore, waking in the middle of the night frequently, and/or experiencing early morning wakings, then you may want to look at cutting the nap length down or phasing it out all together.
You can learn all about the signs that it’s ready to drop a nap HERE.
How to navigate the 1-0 nap transition?
It’s best to phase out this nap gradually, as dropping it cold turkey can sometimes cause your child to become overtired and accumulate a sleep debt quickly. If your child is starting to protest this nap, or this nap is starting to cause issues for bedtime then I want you to try these two tips in the order described below:
Reduce the length of the nap first. See if offering less sleep during the day will help with night sleep, and reduce the bedtime battles.
Offer a nap one day, and then not the next. Alternating between one nap day and then no nap day will help you avoid that sleep debt. Eventually you will go to offer the nap on the “nap day” and your child may flat out refuse it, then the nap is just gone.
Remember, like all the other nap transitions, you want to always move bedtime earlier until your child has adjusted to their new schedule. We really want to avoid over tiredness, because that leads to multiple night wakings, and early morning wakings.
Another thing that is important to note is that around 2 years of age there’s another sleep regression. So sometimes what happens is it may appear that your child is ready to drop a nap, even though they are not. My encouragement for you, is to keep sticking with offering that nap, you may go through a bit of a regression where your child is avoiding their naps, but they may go back to blissfully sleeping after a couple weeks! So stick with it! Don’t ditch the nap until you absolutely need to!
Once your child has completely phased out their nap it’s important to still offer some quiet time around 1pm. Around this time your child’s body will naturally start to decrease in energy, as this was around the time that they were taking their nap.
I asked my families on instagram what they do for quiet time, and these are the ideas they came up with:
-Educational games on the LeapPad
-Quiet time box
A lot of families stated they have a quiet time box, or bin. This is what I also had for my boys, they were allowed to pick 3 activities to add to their quiet time box. In the box they also had books and their water bottle. We set a a timer for quiet time, and they were to play with what they had in their box until the timer went off.
Although the thought of your child dropping all their naps can be daunting, it really isn’t as bad as it may sound. Remember to get through the 2 year old sleep regression before thinking it’s time to ditch the nap. However, if your child is hitting all the signs that it’s time to drop a nap, then make sure you decrease the length of the nap first, prior to cutting it out completely.
It’s completely normal to go one day with a nap, then a day without one. Your week may also look like this - one nap day, 2+ nap refusals, then a nap day again. Be consistent, and continue to offer a second nap. When it’s been over a week (approximately 10 days) of nap refusals, then accept that the times come that napping is over… but now move to other things - quiet time!
You’ve got this! Sleep is coming!
Wondering about the other nap transitions, and what to do when your child is done napping? I got you covered! To schedule a 15 minute free Discovery Call to find out more about how I can help your family nurture healthy sleep don’t hesitate to reach out: email@example.com