For an adult, napping is what we do when we didn’t get much sleep last night and we try to sneak one in while in the office, or have to attend class early. For a toddler, napping is an essential part of their transition from babyhood to being more competent.
Infants sleep quite a bit. They can sleep for over 14 hours every day. This is because they need lots of sleep to keep them growing. When they hit the toddler stage, they don’t need to nap as much, but naps are still needed to make the transition.
How Many Naps?
A toddler needs to have about two or three hours of napping a day. Often, parents will divide it into one nap in the morning and another after lunch.
As a toddler gets a little older, they only need one nap a day, sleeping in the afternoon for a little bit loner. Eventually, they will drop the napping altogether.
Why Napping Happens
While they don’t need to nap as much as an infant, toddlers still need lots of sleep. About 11-14 hours, as a matter of fact. When was the last time you slept that much in one sitting? Few people can do it, which is why the nap helps to supplement the missing amount of sleep.
A toddler who doesn’t get the naps may end up crankier, have more tantrums, and not eat as much. They’ll be less energetic too.
Some toddlers don’t nap as much, and you may wonder why that is. Here are a few reasons why.
They’re Too Tired
This sounds like a contradiction. If a toddler is too tired, you would think they would accept a nap with arms wide open. However, think about a time where you didn’t get much sleep, and when you tried to sleep, you felt energetic. Exhausted folks seem to get energy when they can’t sleep.
Naps Can Be Boring
If a child is still filled with energy, they would rather be having fun than taking a nap, which is a little bit understandable.
The Internal Clock Is Too Strong
Sometimes, the internal clock is just a little bit too strong for them. They’re used to sleeping when it’s dark and vice versa. Putting them in a dark room with blackout curtains may be a good solution to this problem that you face.
How To Let A Toddler Nap
Sometimes, a toddler may resist naptime. When that happens, what can you do about it? There are a few solutions. Let’s look at them.
They may not be tired enough. It’s important to make sure they’re tired, but not too tired, when you’re dealing with sleepiness. Some toddlers are just naturally more energetic, and they may not need as much naptime.
Keep the naptime consistent. Make sure that every day, you stick to a consistent schedule. This can help your toddler adjust. If you want to adjust a toddler’s naptime, do it slowly so they can adapt.
You have to create a sleep ritual to help your toddler. Read them a nice little bedtime story, cuddle them, and play some white noise. Darken the room, and then they can fall asleep much faster.
If your toddler is old enough and is resisting a morning nap, they may be old enough to drop it. When a toddler gets older, they may no longer need two naps a day. This is a great way for them to transition, so make sure to take advantage of that. Adjust the naptimes until you have one afternoon nap. About halfway through the second year, your toddler will need less napping, which is always important. If a toddler tells you they don’t want to nap, then perhaps you should listen and try to move to one nap instead.
When you do transition from one to two naps, it’s not going to be as easy as you would think. For example, your toddler will have to stay awake longer, and it may be hard for them to do so without being too cranky. It’s important that you keep an hour for your toddler to calm down and unwind. This can help the toddler keep their energy up.
Changing lunchtime may be recommended while making the transition as well.
However, it’s important you don’t transition things too radically. You may end up with a toddler who goes to bed earlier, thus waking you up way earlier than you’re used to. Try creating a schedule that satisfies both the toddler and the adult.
Toddlers And Quitting Naps
With that said, you may wonder when the toddler will give up their naps altogether. It all depends. Around the 3-4 year old range is when the naps tend to stop. Then, they will have a sleep schedule that is more equal to that of you and me. However, some kids may nap a little longer. You can always tell whenever a toddler is more resistant to napping altogether. It may be time to drop the nap.
If you think about it, napping isn’t that abnormal in humans. Our sleep used to be more broken up into naps, rather than dedicating a solid period for sleep. Perhaps the toddlers have it right, and we have it wrong. However, our busy life makes it a little harder for us to do so.
Also, some toddlers may switch back and forth. Just like adults, there are some days where we feel tired despite sleeping well. There is no shame in a toddler having a nap, just as there is no shame if you’re having a nap as long as it’s not on company time or in your car.
If you think about it, naptime is so fascinating, and raising a toddler can teach you the value of naptime. As a parent, you may sneak in a few naps yourself, and nap with your little one.
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