Signs that You Need to Drop Your Child’s Nap

Healthy Sleep

Do you know when you need to drop your child’s nap? Here’s what to look for.

While the end of nap time can open up the day to allow for different activities and outings, it also means a lot less down time for parents and caregivers. The transition also takes time for your child’s body to adjust to, making the process challenging. Being prepared by understanding when, and even more importantly how you should drop your child’s nap can make a huge difference.

How do you know it’s time to drop the nap? One of two things usually happen:

  • Developmental milestones and major changes in routine can sometimes lead to nap regression. Give your child about 2 weeks once you start to notice difficulty with nap time before you decide it’s time to eliminate it.
  • Secondly, if your child still naps fine, but they struggle to fall asleep at night, have night wakings and/or early mornings, they might be getting too much sleep over a 24 hour period and it’s probably time to drop their nap.

What’s the best way to drop their nap?

  • Introduce quiet time in lieu of napping to help your child have a rest. It’s also a great opportunity to encourage some more independence and foster some imaginative play.
  • Set aside special activities and toys that your child will have access to only during quiet time to help keep their attention.
  • Consider using a timer to help them understand that there is an expectation to have quiet time
  • And lastly, put your child to be a little earlier for a couple of weeks to help avoid fatigue during the transition. This means also offering their last meal of the day earlier and being prepared for some meal time melt downs.

Other considerations:

Adjusting your child’s bedtime later can help to avoid bedtime battles if your child isn’t tired enough. This may be a good interim measure until your schedule allows for making a focused effort to eliminate the nap. Keep in mind that a bedtime that is too late can also work against your child’s natural sleep patterns, so you will need to make sure you don’t miss that window of opportunity for bedtime.

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  • Observe sleep patterns for 2 weeks before dropping their drop
  • Use quiet time to help provide rest during the transition away from day time sleep
  • Set an earlier bedtime until their stamina builds up

More Reading:

Looking for help Transitioning your Child from Co-Sleeping?

Do your kids fight at naptime? Here’s why: Why Do Babies Fight Sleep At Nap Time? The 2-1 Nap Transition

Have a little one? Check out: How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

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Rebecca Earl

About Rebecca Earl

Rebecca is an infant and child sleep consultant and founder of The Sugar Plum Sleep Co. She is an only child (because she never slept as an infant), a mother of two young boys and an HGTV addict.

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