Is it time to give up the nap?
What signs show that it’s time to give up the daytime nap?
Nap time is important for babies but it can become a sacred time for parents to have a small section of the day to themselves. So as hard as it may be to cut it out, how do you know when your baby no longer needs a nap? Plus, how can you change usual nap patterns with the least amount of disruption?
Babies naturally cut back on the naps they take in the day, but how do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to daytime sleeps altogether?
When your baby is newborn they can be having five or six naps a day but by the time they reach one year old, it’s common for them only to need two naps a day at the most.
Giving up that final nap really does vary from toddler to toddler as some seem to not need their daytime nap from the age of about 2 but other children can go on to still need a nap until they start primary school.
What signs tell me that my toddler doesn’t need a nap anymore?
1. Getting harder for them to fall asleep at naptime
When your toddler seems to struggle to fall asleep for a nap, this is a clear sign they are not as tired for a nap as they used to be. As they grow, they are more able to stay awake longer and this period of staying awake for longer can happen pretty quick.
2. Your toddler doesn’t seem to be tired at bedtime
If at bedtime your toddler has started seeming more awake than usual and still active whereas a few weeks or even days before he seemed ready for sleep, this can be another sign that your little one doesn’t need the daytime nap anymore.
3. When a nap is missed but your toddler doesn’t seem affected
If for some reason your toddler has skipped their nap but come bedtime your little one doesn’t seem to be overly affected by the missed nap, this is another indication that daytime naps may be a thing of the past.
Helping the transition when cutting naps
Your toddler will be your guide through this. Days may vary initially, one day they’ll need a nap, when others they seem to power through unaffected - so go with it. If a nap doesn’t seem on the cards, have ‘rest time’. Put your toddler in bed with some books and small toys, and play quietly for an hour. You may still get a break, but mostly it gives your toddler a chance to learn to play independently and quietly - and get a form of rest.
There is a chance while you’re going through the transition phase of no more napping that bedtimes may be affected, so adjust as necessary and know that bedtime patterns will begin to pan out again once the naps are no more.