As a sleep consultant and a mom, I’ve navigated through many sleep transitions with my little ones, and one of the significant milestones in a toddler’s sleep journey is shifting from two naps to one. This can be a big transition not only for your toddler, but for you as well! Let’s break down the basics and explore the best ways to approach this change.
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When is the Right Time to Drop a Nap?
Typically, children are ready to make this transition between the ages of 12-18 months, with the most common age being 14-15 months. However, every child is different, so the key here is to look for signs of readiness.
Signs of Readiness
Your babe may start showing signs like refusing one of their naps, taking longer to fall asleep at naptime, or experiencing night wakings and early morning risings. Another key sign is remaining content and pleasant even after a skipped nap. While these can sometimes be temporary due to other factors (like teething or developmental milestones), if you notice these signs consistently for two weeks, it may be time to transition to one nap.
Nap Transition Approaches
You can approach this transition in one of two ways:
- Cold Turkey: This is the more straightforward approach, but it requires a bit of patience. On the day you’re ready to transition, move your child’s nap back until noon. If the nap is shorter than 2 hours, offer an earlier than usual bedtime. This gives your child a bit of extra sleep while they adjust to the new schedule. Remember, it might take a few weeks for your child to adjust fully, so be patient and consistent.
- Slow Transition: This approach is more gradual. Start by pushing your child’s morning nap back by an hour and offering a shorter afternoon nap. After a few days, push the morning nap back a little more. Continue this pattern until the first nap starts at noon, then cut out the afternoon catnap.
Remember, transitioning from two naps to one is a process. It might be smooth sailing, or there might be a few bumps along the way. Either way, keep your cool, stay consistent, and know that this is just another phase in your child’s sleep journey. With a little patience, you and your toddler will successfully navigate this transition.
As always, I’m here if you have any questions or if you need some support during this time. Transitioning nap schedules can be challenging, but remember, you’re not alone in this!
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