When my eldest daughter stopped napping I was sad. Very, very sad. Naptime can be the best time of the day for parents! That hour whilst both of my daughters took a nap was my favorite hour in the day. I went through a period of mourning, I shuffled around the house with fond thoughts of all the fun things I used to do when they were asleep for that golden hour in the middle of the day, the laundry, dishes and cleaning just wouldn’t be the same.
Dropping a child’s nap is hard for parents to do, much easier for children! So how do you know when it’s time to stop the nap? Here a little guide for you.
- Your child has a hard time falling asleep at naptime.
This is a bit of a no brainer. Though most kiddos will still fall asleep for a nap even when they don’t really need one. Hey, I’d fall asleep in seconds if I had the opportunity for a nap!
If your child protests at naptime, fear not. Insist on a quiet time. Leave them to play in their crib (this in itself is a good enough reason to keep your child in a crib!). This will give you and your child a break.
- Tough time falling asleep at the beginning of the night.
If your child has had too much daytime sleep, they may not be ready to hit the sack at their usual bedtime. If you notice the time your child is taking to fall asleep is getting longer and longer, they may need less daytime sleep.
- Early morning wake up.
If that wake up time slowly begins to get earlier and earlier your child is getting too much daytime sleep. Huh? Who’d have though a nap could cause a 6am wake up? Think of your child’s sleep in 24-hour blocks. We want the majority to be at night, with a top ups (if needed) through the day.
Most children are aged around 3 years old when they drop the nap altogether. If your child is showing one of the signs of too much daytime sleep, initially reduce the amount of daytime sleep. This may include waking your child. Just because your child continues to sleep doesn’t mean they need all of that sleep during the nap (If I’m lucky enough to take a nap, I can nap for hours and hours. Though I will be up for hours and hours during the night!).
Reduce naps down gradually. If your child naps for 1-½ hours, limit it to 1-¼ hours for a week. If you notice no change reduce down by another 15 minutes for another week.
If/when your child is napping around 30 minutes and they continue to wake early, struggle to fall asleep, then it’s time to ditch the nap!
Oh those naps will be missed.
Did you insist on having a quiet time when your child stopped napping?
What’s your plan of action for the sad days of no naps?