This transition normally occurs between 13-17 months of age, and can be the most challenging transition to navigate as it takes more time to be fully ready for the adjustment.
Signs that your child is ready to drop to one nap:
Some children drop it at 12 months others as late as 18months, so be sure of signs they are developmentally ready.
- Settling for morning nap becomes increasingly difficult, and you may start pushing this nap to later in the morning, and then it is difficult to get a second nap.
- Resisting the afternoon nap – but without an afternoon nap, their wakeful window is too long, which then leads to overtiredness by bedtime.
- Taking both naps ok, but resisting bedtime, happy and showing no tired signs, just undertired.
Tips to help this transition:
- Limit the morning nap to 30-40 minutes in order to keep the second nap and not have too long a window before bedtime.
- Gently move the morning nap later and then have a short power nap later in the afternoon
- Use an early bedtime to compensate for the lack of day sleep, as early as 6pm is OK. Although many parents worry an early bedtime may mean an earlier wake up, it is not the case. An earlier bedtime is much better than letting your child get overtired, and go to bed later, which will almost certainly mean they wake up earlier. And don’t worry, the earlier bedtime will only be temporary until they are fully adjusted.
- Split Lunch – if they fall asleep later morning, and you are worried that they will not take their full nap because they are hungry (but they are sleeping over lunchtime) – you can give them something that could be split into two sittings. Give half about 11ish, and then the second remaining half once they have woken from their nap.
- During this period, no two days will be the same, so you will do need to stay a step ahead, and keep a close on eye on your child’s sleep.
Don’t drop the nap too early!
Sometimes you will start to encounter resistance at bedtime and you may automatically think your child needs to drop their day time sleep. If you are not seeing all the above signs and they do not fall into the 13-17 month age bracket, then I would suggest the battles are more likely to be down to overtiredness, and therefore cutting down day time nap will only make the situation worse.
How long will this transition take?
- Be aware that it may take a good 4-6 weeks for your child to fully transition from two to naps to one, so be prepared that it could mean sleep is a little rocky during this time. This means; they could only have one nap a day for 2 or 3 days in a row, but then need two naps again the 4th day. That is perfectly fine and normal – go with what your child needs.
- Once you have got them down to one nap then the ideal time is after lunch about 12/12:30 (ideally no later than 1pm) for approx. 2.5 hours.
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