Dropping naptime altogether can be a scary thought. It can also be difficult to recognize the signs that your child is actually ready. Knowing when your child is ready is the first step in making the transition out of naptime, however, having a plan to make that transition as smooth as possible is also key.
Dropping naps too early (before 2.5 years) or waiting too long (past 3.5 years) can lead to all kinds of sleep issues such as sleep deprivation, over tiredness and multiple night wakings.
Night time sleep is always most important. That isn’t to say that naps aren’t important because they are, they are the key to keeping your child from being over tired at bedtime. I like to look at naps as support for night time sleep. What can happen, however, is poorly timed naps, inappropriate nap length or too many or too few naps can wreak havoc on our children’s night time sleep. The opposite of their intended purpose.
So how do you know if your child is ready?
Between the ages of 2.5 and 3 years you will likely start to notice some changes with your child’s sleep. He may start to take really short naps, or take a long time to fall asleep for his nap. You may also notice some changes in her night time sleep such as struggling to fall asleep at bedtime, waking during the night, or waking really early in the morning. If you notice one (or all) of these signs you are likely ready to start working toward dropping your child’s nap. Click Here for a FREE evaluation of your child’s sleep
Simply taking the nap away will likely cause a lot of chaos and will end up being a long and sometimes dreadful experience. It is much better to make a plan and offer your child lots of love and support as they move into the next phase of their sleep.
If you have determined that your child is definitely ready to drop the nap you can start with capping your child’s nap at the one hour mark.
After a week you can move your child’s naptime ahead by 30 minutes and cap the nap at 30 minutes. Then for the next week you can move the nap ahead by another 30 minutes and cap it at 30 minutes.
At this point you will still offer your child some quiet time in their bedroom. This time can involve stories or playing quietly in bed with a toy (not electronic). Your child may continue to fall asleep for a time. It may take 3 weeks to a month to have him totally finished with napping. If your child does fall asleep during quiet time be sure he doesn’t sleep longer than 30 minutes.
Once your child stops falling asleep during quiet time, you may need to implement an earlier bedtime for a while. Bedtime might be 7:00 or even 6:30 if you are still dealing with an early morning wake up.
If you aren’t sure if your child is ready to drop the nap, contact Jillian for a Free Assessment of your child’s sleep.