Many parents wonder when their child is ready to drop a nap, here are some helpful tips to help you figure it out!
First things first, is your baby ready to drop a nap??
-Have they been fighting one particular nap?
-Have they been fighting bedtime?
-Are you noticing that they can handle more awake time?
-Is the nap schedule getting weird because of the longer wake time and they may be having a late afternoon nap?
-Has it been a couple of weeks?
If you've been able to answer 'yes' to many of these questions, especially the question around if it's been a couple of weeks, then your child may be ready to drop a nap!
Here's a general guideline of when children transition naps:
Newborns (0-12 weeks): 3-4 naps per day
3-5-month-olds: 3 naps per day
6-7-month-olds: Drop down to 2 naps per day
6/7-12/13 months: Keep 2 naps per day
12 months- 3 years old: 1 nap per day
2.5 - 3 years: This is typically when children drop their nap. If you choose to keep a nap for your child at this age, then you need to know a couple of things.
First off, if you keep the nap, especially when it seems like they are ready to no longer nap, then they will have a later bedtime.
Or you can drop the nap and move bedtime up.
But the important thing to understand is that the first option, at some point, won't work very well anymore and you'll most likely experience big bedtime struggles and that's when you know that you will finally have to let go of that nap!
The good news is is that you can incorporate quiet time when your child would normally nap. .......................................................................................................
Need some quick tips on how to make the transition easier? Keep reading:)
Adding awake time: Usually, I suggest to add 15-30 minutes at a time when you are starting to stretch their awake time. 60 minutes usually backfires and you end up with a cranky baby.
Outside playtime: If you are trying to keep your child awake during the normal time they would nap, get outside! Outside playtime will keep them engaged, and they will be so ready for a nap when it comes time.
Move bedtime up: When you are dropping from 3 to 2 naps, the end of the day can be the hardest. By moving bedtime up by 30-45 minutes, you can avoid a very cranky and overtired baby.
Here's a quick example:
Let's say you have a 6-month old that is needing to drop from 3 to 2 naps. The new schedule would look something like this:
7 am: wake up
9:30/10 am: Nap #1 (hopefully they sleep for 1.5-2 hours)
11:30 am/12 pm: Wake up and lunchtime
2:00/2:30 pm: Nap #2 (hopefully they sleep for 1.5 hours-ish)
3:30/4 pm: Wake up
6:30 pm: Start the routine
7 pm: Bedtime
Okay, one more example. Let's say now that the same baby is now 12 months and it's clear they are ready for 1 nap.
7 am: Wake up
10 am: Outside playtime to prevent sleepiness
11 am: Quick snack/lunch
11:30 am: Naptime! (usually, they would sleep 2-3 hours)
3/4 pm: Outside playtime to prevent sleepiness! Also, a good time to do water play if an option.
6:30 pm: Start the bedtime routine
7:00 pm: In bed
*During the initial transition, you may find that you need to put your child to bed before 7 pm as they are c.r.a.n.k.y.
It's okay! Do so!
You can have them in bed by 6:30/6:35 pm. Naptime transitions can be tricky (I've been there, twice!) Take a breath and give it some time!
If it's not going well, get in touch here! I'd love to help!