It’s interesting (and frustrating!) watching your baby’s sleeping patterns. When they are newborn, you may worry about them because they are sleeping so much, but this is completely normal and healthy. With time, your baby sleeps less and less, but still sleeps a lot. Toddlerhood means your child will drop naps. They may go from three naps a day to two and then one. Then, they drop it altogether and have a sleep schedule we are all familiar with.
You may wonder when your toddler is ready to stop napping. After a year old, your baby will nap less and less, going from six to two, then from two to one at the 15 month range or so. You must remember that every toddler is different, and some may drop their naps earlier or later.
So when does the toddler stop dropping naps? On average, preschool age. That’s quite a long time! Around 3-4 years is when they do so on average.
But again, everyone is different. Some toddlers will be energetic and drop their naps in their twos. Some may be well past the kindergarten age before they stop dropping naps. It’s completely normal, and it’s okay. Do not rush dropping their naps. Instead, look for the signs and make sure that your toddler is ready to drop napping.
Signs Your Toddler Is Ready To Drop Napping Altogether
Because the age range a toddler stops napping is so inconsistent, you need to look for the signs. What are some notable signs? Well, we are glad you asked. Let’s take a look to them.
- They’re Having A Hard Time Napping
The simplest sign is that they don’t want to nap. They may refuse naps or have some trouble falling asleep. When it’s naptime, they just don’t want to do it.
Them struggling to nap is something that needs to happen for a few weeks. There is a chance it may be a false positive. Some days, your toddler may just have trouble sleeping, but still enjoy naps. Life is odd and throws you curveballs when it comes to an otherwise consistent sleep schedule. But if your child is consistently refusing the nap, then it may be time to drop it.
- They Nap Well, But Can’t Fall Asleep At Night
On the other hand, your toddler may be able to nap, but when it comes to their bedtime, they are up well past it. This may be a sign that they’re ready to just sleep at night. Your toddler may be able to stay up all day and then fall asleep at night. Again, this is something that needs to happen for a few weeks.
- Your Toddler Can Handle Skipping Naps
When your toddler skips a nap, they aren’t cranky or angry at you. Instead, they’re fine. This can be a sign they are ready to drop naps altogether, but again, consistency. Some days, your toddler is naturally more energetic and you may see a false positive. Don’t drop until you’re sure they can handle it.
- Your Toddler Isn’t in the Middle Of A Major Life Change
For babies and toddlers, they handle transitioning if they’re not in the middle of something else. If your child has started preschool, it’s not the best time to transition from one nap to no nap at all. If you’re on vacation or moving, not a good time to do so. Make sure nothing is going on in their life.
How To Transition Gracefully
If your baby is ready to drop napping, here are some ways you can do so.
- Every Baby is Different
Some toddlers handle dropping naps with ease. You can quit it cold turkey, and your baby can handle that without a care in the world. Meanwhile, other babies are a bit pickier. They may have all the signs, but aren’t ready to drop the nap. Instead, you have to gradually pull the nap away from them.
- Reduce Naptime
When it’s naptime, but your baby can’t sleep, instead let them unwind and have them nap a little bit less. Don’t force sleep, but instead allow them to play in a comforting way, such as reading a book to them, giving them relaxing toys, or letting them listen to some music.
Reduce the length of the nap by 10 minutes or so every week, and soon the nap can be gracefully dropped. You won’t have to worry about an angry child or a frustrated parent.
- Be Consistent
The important rule when you’re dropping naps is to be consistent. If you make your child nap at inconsistent times, it can make it harder for them to fall asleep. However, by keeping a consistent schedule and making gradual changes, it reduces their chances of regression. Regression can happen either way, but this helps reduce it.
- Positive Reinforcement
It’s always important to show your toddler how much you care about them by giving them a reward or praise whenever they are making changes to their napping schedule. A bit of positive reinforcement encourages a child as they continue their naptime journey. Dropping naptime is hard; even as adults, you probably realize this. There are days where you’re dragging and you just need a nap, yet the show of life must go on.
Remember, Late Blooming Is Okay
There is no reason why you have to worry if your child is 5 and still napping. Most preschool and kindergarten programs allow for naptime, as they know that some kids aren’t done napping just yet. As we keep stressing, never force a change. You’re just going to be left with an angry child and a frustrated parent! Instead, let it come naturally, and encourage healthy rest for growing children.
Toddlers can take a long time to drop naps, with some of them not even toddlers by the time they drop the nap. Sleeping is important in toddlerhood and early childhood, so drop it when they’re ready for it.DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on FamilyHype.com) is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a FamilyHype.com.