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Drop the nap 1-0

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

No more napping! Excited or scared?

Do you ever wonder when your child will drop their nap completely?

{The average age to drop the nap is 2.5-3.5 years old}

There are some exceptions, of course, some 2-year-olds drop their nap when they turn 2, and other kids nap up until kindergarten.

So what are the signs? and what does the process look like?

Let's dive in!

Typical signs:

  • There's more protest around going to sleep at naptime: playing in crib for an hour, or +++ crying

  • Once they do fall asleep, it's now way too late in the day for a nap!

  • They may nap fine but getting them to go to sleep at bedtime is getting more and more difficult

  • They may nap fine, go to bed fine, but are waking up super early and really don't seem tired

Any one of these, or a combination can be a sign that your child is nearing dropping their nap.

First steps before dropping the nap:

  • Shorten their nap to an hour, if you haven't already

  • Move bedtime back to 8 pm

If you've done these things for a while now, and you're still seeing lots of protest around sleep, you may need to test out no nap.

Once you've dropped the nap:

Bedtime moves up!

Typically right around 7 pm.

They may want to nap around 5 pm, but it'll be your job to keep them awake at this time.

No T.V./screens at this time as they is a sure way to get them to fall asleep.

Get outside before/after dinner to help with that afternoon slump!

A bath can help a lot with keeping them happy til bedtime!

They will be tired

Your child will be tired!

They have napped in the daytime their whole life!

Just because they seem tired, doesn't mean that they should have a nap in the daytime.

It just means that you'll have to adjust their activities to allow for quiet time when they would normally nap, and give them a fruit snack in the afternoon to help them over the afternoon slump!

Quiet time

As parents, we have mixed feelings about no more naps!

I was sad because I really enjoyed an hour of quiet time after lunch (anyone else might feel like this?)

But, I was also excited because it meant that we could soon do all-day activities out of the house! *yay!!*

I would suggest to still offer quiet time for your child during their usual nap time!

Activities like: colouring, stickers, playing with cars/trucks, play dough, some screen time, etc.

Quiet time can happen in their room, or in another part of your home.

If you're doing it in their room, they may need to work up to being alone in their room for an hour, so start with 15-20 minutes of alone playtime.

Talk to them about quiet time and set a timer so they know when they can come out of their room.

You can then slowly work your way up to an hour of quiet time.

But what if they NEED a nap?

There will be days in the process of dropping the nap where your child will honestly need a nap!

That's ok!

Just know that you may need to adjust bedtime accordingly!

I've talked to some parents who thought their child needed to drop their nap, and after trying it for a couple of weeks realized that they weren't quite ready, so they went back to napping for an hour and had an 8/830 pm bedtime.

Things to remember

  • This nap transition is challenging! There's a lot more awake time for your child!

  • They will be tired!

  • Move bedtime up!

  • It can take a few weeks to get into a routine around no napping, lots of extra patience is required here!

Here for you,

Melody Patton

Click below to get your Ultimate Sleep Bundle!

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