We hear the question a lot, about whether you should transition to no naps or keep them… today we are tackling that question! How do you know when your toddler no longer needs a nap? What age is the best age?
Most of us find the problem when your kids are laying in bed until much later than they should be without falling asleep. They are coming out of their bed constantly during this time or finding a million reasons not to go to sleep or maybe even needing to be held while they nap, in order to fall asleep… it all boils down to the fact that because of taking that nap, they just aren’t tired.
Here are 20 tips to ease the transition to no naps:
- Try cutting the amount of time she sleeps in half, before cutting out the nap all together.
- Try giving them a nap only on the weekends. “All my kids still napped until the age of 6 and even my 7 year old still needs a nap on weekends. Naps are so beneficial for kids.” ~Sarah Kay
- “I suggest less nap time… around one hour… put some music at wake up & try also doing more physical activities after nap so the energy at bedtime its gone.”~Ivette Silva
- Try quiet time. Have a box for each day and let that be the quiet time box. It gives them calm-down time, but helps them to stay away for a smoother transition to not napping anymore.
- Stagger it:
Week one: One hour nap. Move bedtime up by 30 minutes.
Week three: 40 minute nap. Move bedtime up by an hour.
Week five: 20 minute nap. If bedtime needs to be moved up, move it up here.
Week six: No more napping (do quiet time instead).
- “If she’s asking for the nap then she needs it. Many of my parents (I’m a full day preschool teacher) complain that they don’t want their child to nap at school because they won’t sleep at night. We don’t require a nap, but they do have to rest and be quiet. With the lights off and soft music on, they end up sleeping. As for bedtime, make sure they burn enough energy in the afternoon/evening and then provide a period to calm down. Follow the child’s lead.” ~Debi Hall
- If you find that waking your kids is too hard (many kids don’t do well with this), instead, just move up their bedtime to make up for the lack of sleep. It might be a hard 2-3 weeks as your child adjusts, but it could be worth it in the long run.
- Try moving nap-time up to a late-morning nap, instead of an afternoon nap. This will allow for plenty of time to “get tired” again before bed. Move it up an hour and see if this helps your child fall asleep.
- Give your child books to read (or look at) in bed. They are still being given an opportunity to fall asleep, but you aren’t requiring it anymore.
- Try doing a nap on certain days of the week.
WEEK ONE: Nap on M, W, F, S, S
WEEK TWO: Nap on M, W, F, S
WEEK THREE: Nap on M, TH, S.
WEEK FOUR: Nap on M, TH.
WEEK FIVE: Nap on Monday (or Friday might be better, after a long week).
WEEK SIX: No more naps.
- Let them fall asleep on a car ride and wake them when you get home. This isn’t as deep of a sleep, so they may be easier to wake. If you have errands, run them and time it so that you are driving home during nap-time.
- If you eliminate naps, remember that your child will have a hard time with it and may be grouchy. To curb this reaction, line up fun activities, like baking, drawing or playing with friends, to distract her from being tired.
- Let her have movie time. Instead of taking a nap, let your child lay on the couch with a pillow and blanket.
- “I have worked at a daycare for years. Shorten the nap. It’s not fun to wake them up, but usually helps them fall asleep faster.”~Jessica Tuller
- The transition is hard. Be sure to keep them busy during the 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm time, to avoid a “cat nap”, which would result in a very late night.
- Extra stimulation in the afternoons. Parks, playdates, playgrounds… anything to keep them busy.
- “Be sure she is getting, at the very least, 15 minutes of sunlight everyday. It regulates our body clock and we a need it for our well being. See if she needs a nap after getting a dose of sunlight everyday”~Julia Castro
- I think it’s just a good practice of EVERYONE to have a break in the middle of the day. When I was in high school, if I didn’t have a job, my mom expected me to take an hour out of the day in the afternoon to rejuvenate. I still try to do that. Your child certainly does not have to SLEEP, but you, and your child, should maintain a sacred time of rest each day” ~Carol Turpin
- Remember that this, too, shall pass.
- If you can’t beat em… join em! Can you rest during the day? Snuggle with your child for 30 minutes on the couch and both take a very short, but beneficial cat nap or “power nap”. 30 minutes is the ideal nap time to give yourself new-found energy, but still allow your child to sleep at night.
Find more tips on our Facebook Page, where we talk about things like making the transition to no naps and other parenting topics on a daily basis! We love to hear what you have to say, as it helps parents everywhere! In the meantime, check out this post on what to do when your toddler won’t sleep through the night.