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Why Do Babies Fight Sleep When They Want To Drop A Nap?

Baby Sleep

Why Do Babies Fight Sleep When They Want To Drop A Nap?

Your child is on a nap strike! Sometimes he sleeps in the morning but plays through his afternoon nap, and sometimes he skips the morning nap but sleeps in the afternoon. Other times he falls asleep late, which pushes the entire daytime schedule later. Why do babies fight sleep when dropping a nap? Should you begin the nap transition from two naps to one?

Not necessarily! Beware of the premature nap drop!

Your child may be going through a biological milestone, like crawling, standing or walking, which unfortunately messes with their sleep. All they want to do is practice this cool new skill, and sleep takes a backseat! You don’t want to drop the morning nap prematurely if he is going to get through this milestone in a few weeks and go back to being a great napper. Once you make the transition from two naps to one, it’s much harder to go back to two!

You don’t want to drop the morning nap prematurely if he is going to get through this milestone in a few weeks and go back to being a great napper.

The majority of toddlers transition from two naps to one between 15 to 18 months of age. That being said, there are some keys signs that indicate your child is ready to transition from two naps to one:

  • Your child sleeps through the morning nap but then refuses the afternoon nap;
  • Your child plays through the morning nap, then takes their afternoon nap;
  • Your child falls asleep later than usual for the morning nap, which then pushes the afternoon nap later, which then delays bedtime.

During the transition from two naps to one, it’s important to implement an earlier bedtime to help your child stay well rested.

These signs need to be present consistently for about 2 weeks. Sometimes children will show these signs for a few days at a time, but then sleep well on the other days. This could mean that your child is going through a developmental milestone, rather than ready to permanently drop the morning nap.

These signs need to be present consistently for about 2 weeks.

So how do you do the nap transition from two naps to one? You can help make the transition easier on both you and your child by beginning to offer only one nap a day around 11am. Move the nap later by 20 minutes every few days until this single nap starts around 1pm. This allows your child’s internal clock to adjust slowly. During the transition from two naps to one, it’s important to implement an earlier bedtime to help your child stay well rested. Its hard for them to suddenly drop an hour or more of sleep and not make it up somewhere.

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Quick tips:

  • Avoid dropping their morning nap prematurely

  • Consider the transition if your child misses naps consistently for 2 weeks

  • Start by offering one nap earlier 

  • Offer an earlier bedtime during the transition.

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