Losing the Toddler Nap


At some point, whether you’re ready or not, your toddler is going to declare an end to nap time. Here is some advice on weathering that transition stage.
From Two Naps to One

Most toddlers make the transition from two naps to one nap by the time they are 18 months old. This can be a tough time for you and your toddler. A toddler may not need that second nap every day, but if he goes too many days in a row with just one nap, he can become overtired and edgy (or fall asleep in the middle of dinner). At that point, anything even remotely resembling a routine goes out the window.

If you’ve eliminated the morning nap, try moving the afternoon nap ahead a little so that it occurs earlier in the afternoon. You may want to serve lunch a little earlier than you did when he was having a morning nap to ensure that your toddler will be in a reasonably cooperative mood when it’s time to eat. If he’s too tired, lunch could turn into a battle and your toddler may not want to eat at all. That could interfere with his afternoon nap. (If he hasn’t eaten anything for a couple of hours, he’ll wake up shortly after he’s fallen asleep because hunger will trump his need for some shut-eye.)

From One Nap to None

To figure out if your toddler is ready to give up that final nap, consider the following:

  • His mood—is it stable throughout the day or does he experience at least one ‘I need a nap’ meltdown?
  • His energy level—does he yawn, stare into space, rub his eyes, or get all wound up—a sign that he’s over-tired or does he seem to have enough get-up-and-go to get through the day?
  • His coordination skills—does he start tripping and bumping into walls or is he able to maintain control over his body?
  • How his nighttime sleep is affected—is it better or worse on days when he misses out on his naps?

Your answers to these questions will help you to figure out whether your toddler is ready to ditch that final nap or whether he’d benefit from a bit of daytime shut-eye (or at least some daytime quiet time) for just a little while longer. Good luck!


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