When should your toddler give up their nap? Find out what a sleep consultant says the signs are to look for! Parenting toddlers, toddler sleep, toddler isn't napping, nap tips, sleep tips

When Should a Toddler Stop Napping

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When my textbook sleeper began taking longer and longer and longer to fall asleep at nap time, I persisted with iron-clad determination.

She would sleep.

I had worked so hard to get my then 18-month-old and two-and-a-half-year-old to nap at the same time.

This reprieve in my day was my refuel time. I could get some things done, eat lunch uninterrupted, or nap with them. My son was a terrible sleeper and so I needed all the downtime my day could afford.

Moreover, I was pretty sure kids were supposed to nap until, like, five anyways. There’s no way my toddler was ready to give up her nap! Okay, yes, I knew I hadn’t been napping when I went off to preschool. Yet, I remained hopeful that maybe there was a research to suggest that kids needed to nap until at least grade school, if not longer…

After way too long of desperately trying to get her to sleep, and after a few missed naps and a grouchy girl, I messaged one of my good friends, a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant, and asked what on earth to do. I will admit, I hoped for a few insightful tips to get her naps back. What I got back was that it was very clear at a few months shy of three, she was ready to give them up. I had to ask Chelsea, ‘If she’s ready, why is she so temperamental without one?’ Chelsea assured me this was normal, and to facilitate quiet down time with a carb-rich snack such as fruit or bread to give her energy.

 

So, When Should Your Toddler Stop Napping? A Sleep Consultant Weighs In

 

It’s a question I am asked often, ‘Is my toddler ready to stop napping?‘ I know they want to hear a ‘No’ from me. Many parents, myself included, enjoy the 2-hour break when their toddler snoozes away. They can get things done. But we can’t deny the signs that our toddler is ready to stop napping. – Chelsea, the sleep consultant

 

When should your toddler stop napping? Find out what a sleep consultant says the signs are to look for! Parenting toddlers, toddler sleep, toddler isn't napping, nap tips, sleep tips


There are two signs to look for when decided your child is ready to stop napping.

The first is that they will spend their entire naptime playing, giggling, talking to their toys. Basically, your toddler is doing their utmost to stop napping. Even if this only happens a couple of times a week, this counts as a sign.
The second sign to look for is your child delaying bedtime. Your child will nap readily, but won’t go to bed at a proper bedtime. Chelsea’s advice is that if you notice this starts to happen, wait about a week. Avoiding bedtime could be a temporary phase. But, if your child is at least two-and-a-half-years-old and showing these signs fairly consistently, it’s time to pull the nap altogether. Your child should get 11-12 hours of consolidated sleep each night. It is much better to have this than two hours during the day and 9 or 10 hours at nighttime.
Making this change is a big adjustment for your toddler and it as long as four to six weeks for their little body to adjust. It is important to stay consistent with them. Waffling between naps and no naps will be harder on their body and will not allow their internal clock to normalise. Chelsea suggests you replace their normal naptime with a minimum of 30 minutes of quiet time. One suggestion she has is to create a quiet time bin with special activities such as colouring books, puzzles, and stickers. During this time, offer your child a snack with natural sugar such as fruit. It’s also a good idea to move bedtime as early as 6pm until their body has adjusted.
 
It took time but we got into a new routine. And I have to say, our new normal has been quite nice. We have used the time to do activities that her brother is too young to do. Having that quality one-on-one time has brought out the absolute best in my little girl!
 
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8 thoughts on “When Should a Toddler Stop Napping

  1. It’s really hard when kids drop their nap. Both my kids dropped theirs before three but it was good because otherwise they would stay up way too late. This is great advice.

    1. It is hard! It’s a part of parenting I would have been happier holding on to for about a decade or so 😛 Same thing happened with my daughter, she would nap but hen go to bed at 9:30!!! It’s a better balance now. Thanks for sharing your own experience, Melissa!

  2. We are in your same boat with the nap time situation. I don’t want to let it go. But the boy is starting to fight back. If he does nap during the day, it is harder and harder to put him down at night time, and he’s approaching the two and a half age. I’m so glad and thankful to read this. We kinda have been struggling with what to do.

  3. My kids never napped. When my son was younger they would put him in the age above his during nap time since he would wake up all the other kids trying to ‘whisper’ talk to the teachers. hahaha

  4. I’m so glad I read this! To be honest, I really didn’t want to because I am not ready for my oldest to drop her nap. When I first started reading, I was able to come around. Maybe it would be cool to have some extra one on one time with my girl again. But by the end, I think it’s clear, she is not ready to give them up yet (phew!!). But she might be ready in a few months, and when she is, I’ll embrace it. 🙂

  5. NEVER! haha My son will be two in August. I know the time will eventually come when he needs to drop his nap, but I’m not ready for it. Thanks for sharing these signs to look for though.

  6. What about preschool? Some preschools give them naps if they stay in the afternoon. Mine took naps until they were 4 or 5. It depended on the child.

    1. Thanks so much for writing and commenting. These are markers to indicate a child is ready to give up their nap. The markers are meant for 2.5 on but it doesn’t mean at 2.5 they’re done, it just means when they hit 2.5 and beyond and start to show these signs they’re done. My daughter’s school facilitates naps but it’s just meant as quiet restful time as the majority at age four have outgrown theirs. For the ones who haven’t, they can sleep.

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