A rough guide of everything you need to know when it comes to napping.
Nap time for most parents is warmly welcomed in the midst of a busy day. It’s a time for your little one to re-charge their batteries but also a chance for you to catch up on some of your “to-dos”.
Or, let’s be honest, have a bit of peace! You never want that phase to end, but it eventually does! When that will be can vary.
Napping routines can really depend on the baby. Each baby is different and when they will drop their naps will also differ. But here is a rough guide of everything you need to know when it comes to napping.
In the first 12 months of your little one’s life, changes in their naps tend to happen fairly quickly. Usually, your baby will transition from 5 or 6 naps each day to just 2 in that first year! Then, at some point between 15-18 months, your toddler will transition from 2 naps to just 1.
The age to drop the afternoon nap varies, some toddlers are completely done with naps by age 2, while other kids will continue to need naps past age 5! However, the average age for toddlers to stop napping is sometime between age 3 and 4.
3 signs your little one is ready to stop napping:
1. Between 3 and 4 is a big generalisation.
But as mentioned, it really depends on the child. So even though you know the averages, how can you be sure that your toddler is really ready to drop that last nap? What signs should you look for?
2. Your toddler takes a long time to fall asleep and generally does not seem tired when it is naptime.
This is a tell-tale sign that your toddler may be starting to transition away from their afternoon nap. Remember, as your toddler grows, they can gradually handle more and more awake time during the day. For example, let’s say your toddler normally wakes up at 7 a.m. While it may be true that, just a few weeks ago, they were getting tired and ready for a nap by 12:30 or 1, as they grow, they will be able to stay awake longer and longer.
3. Your toddler takes a long time to fall asleep at bedtime and generally does not seem tired when it's bedtime.
This sign often goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. If your toddler has been resisting their afternoon nap, and instead of falling asleep as usual at 1pm, they do not actually drift off to sleep until 2pm.
This will possibly mean that, instead of waking up at 3, they wake up at 4 (or even later). The problem here is that this later wake-up time will cause problems at bedtime. Simply because they aren’t as tired as usual at bedtime. Of course, even toddlers who nap at their normal times may go on to put up a fight at bedtime. But, now that your toddler is older, they can handle more awake time. So eventually even their normal nap will eventually be too much afternoon sleep, and it will begin to impact bedtime.
3. Your toddler skips the afternoon nap entirely but does not show any negative side effects.
If your toddler sometimes skips their nap altogether but seems fine (no crankiness, does not seem exhausted by early evening, can go to bed at a reasonable time, etc.), this is a good sign that she is ready to transition away from her afternoon nap.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.