Wait, they’re going to stop napping!?
I’m not going to get that quiet down time every day!?
This is the nap transition we all put off for as long as we possibly can. Most children are between 2 and 3 years of age when they start showing signs they are ready to drop the nap. The majority of kids I work with are closer to 3 than to 2, and there are even some children who can handle keeping their nap past age 3.
Signs Your Child Doesn’t Need a Nap Anymore
- They continue to nap every single day like clockwork but it’s taking them longer and longer to fall asleep at bedtime. A once 7:30 bedtime has turned into your child falling asleep as late as 8:30, 9:00, 9:30 pm … This is the most common sign. If your child is quietly laying in their bed, you may not even know how late it really is. This is exactly what happened with my own daughter.
- Same as #1 but there is now lots and lots of protesting, stall tactics, and lots of energy during the routine AND they take forever to fall asleep AND difficult behaviors have crept in after the light goes off.
- Maybe your child falls asleep at a decent time at night but has started waking even earlier in the morning. Think -> the dreaded 5:00 am hour.
- If your child is sometimes napping and sometimes not.
Sometimes these things can happen randomly, but if you’re starting to see a pattern develop and it’s been a couple weeks, here is your game plan.
How to Drop the Nap
Step 1: You could try capping the nap at 1.5 hours every day. Sometimes by limiting the daytime sleep it can help you keep that nap a bit longer.
Step 2: If you tried capping the nap but your child wakes from their nap really cranky and is in a funk all afternoon, skip to step 3. Or if you’ve managed to cap the nap for a while, but you’ve started to see signs even this isn’t working, skip to step 3.
Step 3: Drop the nap. Commit to it. Every. Single. Day. If they accidently fall asleep, wake them within 20 minutes.
Step 4: Move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes to an hour. They will be tired and cranky, and they will need to get to sleep early so they can catch up on that lost sleep.
Step 5: Even after a week has gone by and your child is having meltdowns every afternoon and you are cursing me out for convincing you to do this, do NOT go back to napping. Again, you must commit. The fastest way for your child to adjust to no nap, is by not letting them nap and getting him or her to bed early.
Step 6: Once your child is handling the day better and doesn’t seem exhausted anymore at the end of the day, start slowly moving bedtime back again.
Step 7: Enjoy your newfound freedom of not having to be back home for that nap anymore! 🙂
If you need personal one-on-one help dropping the nap, schedule a FREE Discovery Call to get started.