My last blog post was about dropping the nap altogether (sob), another sad day (not as sad) is when your child is ready to transition to one nap. Here are some pointers on dropping to one nap- when to do it and how to go about it.
It’s time to begin making the switch when it takes longer for your child to fall asleep at the beginning of either morning or afternoon nap. Don’t worry about the odd day where you child struggles to fall asleep at naptime. If you get three consecutive days you should think about making the switch.
Your child may have a tougher time falling asleep in the evening, what was once a nice quiet and calm bedtime has turned into a crazy dance of pleading, begging and shenanigans! (That’s just from you!). Too much daytime sleep is generally the culprit.
There are two ways you can go about making the switch.
There’s the short sharp, just go for it technique. Or, the slower let’s take it easy technique.
Let’s start with the short sharp approach. There’s not really much to it. You don’t let your child take their morning nap and keep them awake for as long as you can. You want to aim for a lunchtime nap. Getting near to 11am on those first days is perfect. Make sure your child either has an early lunch or a late snack. You want to avoid them waking from hunger.
The last hour or so before bedtime may be more of a challenge. Be prepared for this, your little one will be more tired and cranky. Try to keep bedtime as consistent as possible. You can let them go to sleep for the night around 30 mins earlier. If they go to sleep for the night too early, they are likely to wake an hour or so after having treated the sleep like a nap and then be up for hours!
The slower, let’s take it easy approach is just that, slower.
Push your child’s morning nap back by 30 minutes. Let them nap as long as they want. Push the time out a little between the naps (if before you started the switch they had 3 hours between naps, try and get to 3 ½ hours), the second nap needs to be long enough to keep them going until bedtime. This is usually between 20 and 45 minutes. Make sure that there will be around 4 hours between the last nap and bedtime.
Every 3rd or 4th day you’ll want to make the morning nap a little later (15 – 30 minutes later is perfect). Keep the time between the naps consistent. The second nap always needs to be just long enough to keep going until bedtime.
When you child is napping around lunchtime you can drop the second little catnap altogether.
Like the other technique you’ll want to make sure that the bedtime remains as consistent as possible.
It’s quite normal for a child to go back to 2 naps a day once or twice a week. As they get more used to the change this will happen less and less often.
Have you successfully transitioned to one nap? How old was your child?