During the toddler stage, your little one will need less sleep. Oh, don’t get us wrong; toddlers still sleep a lot. But they end up sleeping less. Your toddler will usually sleep for two naps, but over time, their two naps will turn to one nap. How do you know when your baby is ready for one nap? Let’s find out.
Age Is Important
On average, a toddler switches from two naps to one in about 15-18 months. Sometimes, they may switch a little earlier or a little later. Age can be a good estimate, but it’s not foolproof. You shouldn’t force a toddler to switch naps just because they’ve hit 15 months. Every toddler is different and it’s not a race. Instead, the signs are much more important.
When a toddler is ready to switch from two naps to one, they will show some signs. Here are a few signs your toddler may show.
Also, make sure that your toddler has these signs for longer than two weeks. Sometimes, you may have a false positive, where they have trouble napping one day but not the rest of the week.
- They Are Refusing One Of Their Naps
If you try to put your toddler to nap and they say no, or have a hard time sleeping, then it may be a sign that they don’t need one of their naps. Again, sometimes your toddler just has a bit of trouble falling asleep or just feel energetic, so it needs to be a constant sign.
- They Have A Hard Time Falling Asleep At Night
Sometimes, your toddler sleeps well during their naps, but has trouble at night. You may feel frustrated because they just won’t go to bed, but this could be a sign that they just need one nap to help them tire out for the night.
- Early Wake-up
Sometimes, the toddler falls asleep well in all three regards, but wakes up earlier from their naps and from their nighttime sleep. This may be a sign that they just need one nap in order to balance out their sleeping schedule.
There Is No Major Transition or Change Going On
If your toddler is dealing with learning how to walk, on vacation, or moving, it may not be time to transition. This is a stressful period, and it may make your toddler stressed. Too much work can make your toddler break down, and that’s never good.
What To Do
If your toddler is showing the signs, it’s time to transition from two naps to one. Here’s how you can do so in a way that makes sure your toddler doesn’t feel too overwhelmed.
- Gradual Change
One of the best ways to help your toddler go from two to one is to do it slowly. You do it too fast and your toddler may be grumpy.
Say your toddler’s morning nap is at 9:00 AM. Every day, increase it by 10 minutes. Eventually, it will be in the afternoon, and it can be their single nap. Make sure that they are getting sleep. The nap may need to be longer.
Gradual change is the best method, but it’s not perfect. There may be some days where your toddler still feels grumpy. Keep trying.
- Shorten The Naps
Instead of moving the first nap up a little bit, some people just shorten the nap for their kids, waking them up five or so minutes earlier every day until the nap is gone. Try that out and see if it’s good for you. Some toddlers will go through a period where one nap is too little, but two is too many, and by changing it gradually, you can stop that.
- Cold Turkey
Some toddlers can drop their nap altogether and be fine. Try that out too. However, if they are still having problems, you should do it gradually. This can help a baby transition much easier. Making the change too fast can lead to overtiredness.
Overtiredness is when a baby hasn’t had enough sleep, and they have trouble falling asleep as a result. You’ve probably had some contradictory insomniac nights like that.
- Quiet Time
Transitioning from two naps to one can be a challenge because even when you do it slowly and surely, your toddler may still feel tired. In that case, it’s important to establish the concept of quiet time. This is when you read to your child, listen to nice music, and do other activities that can make them use less energy. This helps them go to bed without that overtired period.
Some days, your toddler may need one nap, and other days, they may benefit from two. Don’t feel afraid to move your child to two naps for a second if they need it.
Different Sleep Patterns
Depending on daycare and weekend schedules, your toddler’s sleep schedule may be different. If you have to take your toddler to daycare, they might not be able to conform to their usual sleep schedule. Having two different sleep patterns usually isn’t a bad thing, so don’t sweat it unless they have a negative reaction to it.
What About One Nap To None?
You may wonder when it’s time to drop the concept of napping altogether. For toddlers, this is a big ballpark. There are some toddlers who will be ready to drop napping before they even turn 2. Then, there are toddlers who will continue napping during preschool age. Every toddler is different and being able to sleep helps them grow. Don’t force them to drop a nap if they aren’t ready to do so. Eventually, they will sleep just like you and me, and probably miss the days when they could nap all day.
Nap time is definitely a unique time for toddlers everywhere. It’s okay if your toddler has a napping schedule that is a little different, so just look for the signs and drop the nap whenever.
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