If your child has healthy sleeping habits, the chances are that you are dreading the day that he or she is done with naps. I know I did. Yet, here I am with one not napping and the other is very close to being done with naps, and were still ok ;). You will be too!
With the 1 to 0 nap transition, as with all nap transitions, questions arise about when it happens, how to know when it’s happening and how to help your child through it. But with this one, there’s also the question of “what now?”
Signs your child is done with naps
Your child is between the age of 3-5
If your child is younger, it’s not time yet! Sometimes our toddlers skip naps and sometimes that can happen for a little while. This though, if happening before 3, is usually tied to learning a new skill or perhaps the 2 year nap strike.
Your child takes a long time to fall asleep at bedtime after a good nap
This can be so frustrating! We all love our kiddos nap time, but when it is consistently impacting how long they take to fall asleep, it may be time for the nap to go. We like bedtime to go smoothly too, right?!
Your child is not napping or is taking a while to fall asleep for nap
You used to be able to expect a nap 7 days out of the week (most of the time), but now that’s slowly being cut back. If your child is only napping a handful of days out of the week, it may be time for the nap to go.
How to help your child through
If your child is napping but taking a while to fall asleep at night
It would be helpful to move slowly. Start waking your child earlier from naps. Pause, wait a week or two, to see how it goes. If it still impacts bedtime, then wake him / her a little earlier. When you wake them, transition them to quiet time (see below) for the remainder of nap time.
If your child is not napping at all
Try for a nap for the first 30-45 minutes, if they do not fall asleep, transition them to quiet time for the remainder of nap time.
In both cases
I find it beneficial to keep the length of down time for the length of their usual nap, at least for a little while. You can start to shorten the quiet time as they get older and are able to hang on till bedtime a bit better.
Take it slow
This process can take some time. Have patience with it. Take it slow. Try to remember that our kids don’t usually go from a great solid consolidated nap to no nap in the snap of your finger. This takes time. The more slowly you can go about it, the fewer hiccups you will see. Also consider that during this transition, your child may actually need a slightly earlier bedtime than when they were napping to help ease into the new no nap world.
This is yours and their saving grace. We all need downtime in the day, parents and kids alike. Quiet time is some time in their room (at least an hour), at what used to be their nap time, playing with quiet toys. This little bit of down time will help them to hold off better until bedtime.
We all need naps from time to time. Just because your child has given up the nap, does not mean that they will always go from dawn to dusk without a nap. There are times when they’ve had an active day or when they are sick that a short nap may be appropriate ;). Heck, I still need a nap now and then, don’t you?
If you are struggling, please reach out. The Good Night Sleep Site team is always here to help!
Certified Sleep Consultant
Good Night Sleep Site Florida
*BASED IN ORLANDO, FL, BUT WORK REMOTELY WITH FAMILIES