Transitioning to one nap from two

Obviously you have probably learnt by now I am an advocate of encouraging your child to get as much sleep as they need and I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of this transition. This is a huge milestone for children and very often can upset their sleeping habits often causing early rising and overtiredness. I am going to give you five steps of advice to help you through this huge milestone.

  1. Children are ready to transition from 2 to 1 nap around the ages of 14 to 18 months, 17 months being the most common. Do not drop the nap because your child is nearly 18 months of age, they will show you the signs when they are ready. If they hold on to 2 naps longer, let them!
  2. Look for the signs; the afternoon nap may become shorter, they may begin to take longer and longer to fall asleep on the second nap. They may be going to bed at the normal time but appear very awake and alert more than normal.
  3. When making the transition, consider how you want to do it. You may move the morning nap later and put them to bed a little earlier to compensate or you may keep them up and put them down for the normal afternoon nap. Whatever you choose be mindful that during this transition, there may be some days when your child appears tired and may well still need to take two naps – let them. This is part of a big process and change.
  4. When you decide how you are going to drop the nap, make sure you keep to a routine and keep the nap time at the same time each day, it sits best just after lunch and no later than 1.30.
  5. As the morning has changed, offer your child some quiet time during the morning time in replacement of the nap, create a cosy space and maybe some quiet television or a book. Remember, this one nap transition is huge for any child and it can cause some disturbances, be aware of your child’s sleepy cues and if they need more sleep on one day than another then let them take it. They will hold on to 1 nap a day until they are 3 and a half years.

Don’t compare your child’s sleeping habits to anyone else. They let you know when they are ready to drop the nap, doing it too soon can cause overtiredness and consequently, early rising.

Laura, Babbaboo Sleep.

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