How to transition from two naps to one

Anywhere between the ages of 12 months and 18 months your toddler will be ready to transition from two naps to one nap each day. But how do you know when they’re ready to drop a nap? And if so, what then?
Anywhere between the ages of 12 months and 18 months your toddler will be ready to transition from two naps to one nap each day.

But how do you know when they’re ready to drop a nap? And if so, what then?

How to tell if your child is ready

Consider both of your child’s current naps. You may find that their first nap of the day is great.

It might even be better than ever; they go down well and it’s a long nap. But then, when it’s time for their afternoon nap, there’s a whole lot of resistance.

Either they fight the whole thing, or they play in their cot, or they only sleep for 20-30 minutes.

If something like this is happening roughly three or four times a week, it can be a good indicator that your toddler is ready to move to one nap a day.

5 Tips on transitioning from two naps to one

If you think your child is ready, keep reading these 5 simple tips to see how to make the transition as smooth as possible.

1. Make the decision and stick to it!

It will be a lot easier for your toddler’s body rhythm to get in line with a new routine if it’s consistent.

Waffling back and forth between two naps some days and one nap another day will make it harder to consolidate the new routine. If you think they’re ready – make the change.

The faster you move into things, and the more consistent you are with them, the easier it will be for your toddler’s body to get in line with what’s happening.

Once you’ve made the choice you’ve got to stick to it, even if that means you have a rough couple of days as you begin the transition.

2. Ease into the timings

Don’t push to make too big a change in nap timings straight away.

The perfect time to start the only nap of the day is 12:30pm. However if your child usually starts their nap at 10:00am, jumping straight to 12:30pm on day one will probably be too much for them. You’ll need to ease into this gradually.

Try to move their nap by 30 minute increments every three days until you get to the appropriate time.

Once you’re there, then that’s where it stays.

3. Give it time

Ideally, this one nap a day will last for two or three hours. However, it’s very common for children to start with shorter periods of sleep as they’re transitioning.

It can be alarming if your child is only taking a one-hour nap only once a day, but give it time.

It usually takes 4-6 weeks for their body to adjust to significant changes in sleeping habits.

Hang in there!

4. Take the edge off with a catnap

If your toddler’s naps are not yet long enough, or you’re starting them earlier than preferable, a catnap will get them to bedtime without getting too overtired.

If you push through without them having a short rest, you’ll likely to find bedtime becomes a struggle due to overtiredness.

So, if your toddler wakes before 1:00pm, then around 3:00pm that day, go out for a drive or a walk and see if they will have a 20-30 minute catnap.

Naps in the car or pram are not really quality sleeps, but in this instance it’s fine to take the edge off. This way you can get them to bedtime, or close to it, without them being too overtired.

5. Move bedtime earlier

Another thing you can do during the transition from two naps to one is to make your toddler’s bedtime earlier.

If they’re normally in their cot at 7:00pm, you can move that to 6:30pm for a few weeks. Moving their usual bedtime routine out by 30 minutes will not disrupt their overall schedule.

However overtiredness is something you should be watching out for. An overtired child has trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep.

An earlier bedtime can help ease some of the fatigue that may be setting in with the change, and reduce associated bedtime issues.

The transition from two naps to one is one of the trickiest changes, but by following these tips, you’re likely to have a great napper within four weeks.

More baby sleep articles to enjoy

Source: This article was written by Kim Corley, a certified sleep sense consultant at Cherished Sleep
Image source:canberramummy

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