How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to naptime for your toddler? Do you have to stop putting them down for a nap? Most of us relish this time during the day to catch up on housework, work on a business or just simply take a break but if your little one isn’t sleeping and is struggling at beditme every night, it might be time.
The average age for dropping the nap is 2.5 however, some children nap until age 5. It really does depend on the child and involves a decision on the parents part a lot of the time as well and what works for their family.
What are the signs a toddler is ready?
- Your child will almost always go down well for afternoon nap, but the problem becomes bedtime. They will not go to sleep as easily as they have in the past at bedtime.
- Another way to know if they’re ready is if your child is simply not falling asleep and having “naptime parties” but is ready for bedtime much earlier than normal. Developmental milestones can also be the cause of “naptime parties” so make sure that the behaviour goes on longer than 2 weeks before deciding to eliminate naptime all together.
How do you make the transition?
- When you remove naptime, implement “quiet time” for at least 6 weeks to help with any late afternoon meltdowns. In addition, bedtime is going to have to be moved earlier than before. A good bedtime for a toddler not taking a nap during the day is 7pm, however, there is no harm in an even earlier bedtime if that’s what works for your child. You may need to start earlier than you want once you remove the nap, but over time you can slowly move it a bit later again. The last thing you want is an overtired toddler at bedtime as this can make it very hard for them to settle.
- If your child does fall asleep during “quiet time” wake them after an hour and you may need to make bedtime later that night.
- A good way to introduce quiet time versus a nap is to engage your child in a quiet activity in their room and then leave them to themselves to play. A kitchen timer can be used as an indicator of when quiet time is over and they can come out to find you.