When should you give up your toddler’s nap? Read a sleep expert’s insights and signs your toddler is ready to stop napping.
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.
My toddlers’ nap time was my refuel time. I needed both toddlers to nap.
I could eat lunch uninterrupted, wash the floors, or nap with them. My son was a terrible sleeper and so I didn’t want to give up the only time I could get some R&R.
I remained hopeful that maybe there was research to suggest that kids needed to nap until at least grade school, if not longer…
Related reading: 15+ Calming Toddler Activities For When Your Child No Longer Naps
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. Chelsea is a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant. I messaged her in the hops that she could give me a few insightful tips to get my toddler’s naps back.
What I got back was that it was very clear at a few months shy of three, my little girl was ready to give them up. Nevertheless, 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 downtime with a carb-rich snack such as fruit or bread to give her energy.
Related reading: Why you shouldn’t punish tantrums and what to do instead
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
There are two signs to look for when decided your toddler is ready to stop napping.
For more reading on parenting toddlers, check out:
- Front-loading, redirection and connection: 3 strategies for parenting a strong-willed toddler
- 15+ Calming Toddler Activities For When Your Child No Longer Naps
- 10+ Tips for Mitigating Difficult Toddler Behaviour
- How to Conquer Your Toddler’s Potty Training Regression
- This is How to Stop Your Toddler from Hitting
- Why You Shouldn’t Punish Tantrums and What to do Instead
- (Affiliate product) The Good Science Guides Sleep Series
FAQ about toddler sleep
- How do you know when your toddler is done with naps?
Sleep experts say when the child readily postpone naps, naps get later and later in the day and/ or bedtime is delayed.
- How long should a toddler nap?
Toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. So, if a toddler gets 12 hours of consolidated sleep at night and doesn't have the signs she is ready to give up her nap, her nap should be about two hours.
- Should you wake a toddler from his nap?
Generally speaking, no. However, if the nap is getting close to 4pm, this can interfere with his sleep at night and you may want to consider waking him. Also, if you have concerns about his health or wellbeing, then absolutely wake him. Observe your child's behaviour to see if she needs shorter or fewer naps.