5 Signs It's Time To Nix Naptime (And 3 Signs It's Not!)
Ah, sleep. One of my favorite topics! My little boy may not look a thing like me, but he's certainly my child 'cause he sleeps LIKE. A. BOSS.
Biologically speaking, most kids are ready to drop naps around age three, but this can vary greatly from child to child. While most kids give up naps between three and five, it can be normal for kids as young as two to stop. Luckily, I can still count on my little one to lay down for an impressive nap, leaving him happy and rejuvenated (while allowing me a few hours of peace and relaxation as well!) At home on the weekends, it's not uncommon to get a solid three hour nap out of him (Bless you, sweet child 🙌).
But it got me thinking: when is it time to give up that nap and does he really need that much rest in the middle of the day? We did a little digging and found a few signs it may be time forego naptime.
5 signs your child may be ready to ditch the nap:
1. Trouble At Naptime
If your toddler won’t stay in bed, or verbally tells you she doesn’t want to take a nap, she's making it known that it may be time to consider the transition to a nap-free day. If your little one is in bed for a long period of time before actually falling asleep, she may not actually need the sleep.
2. The Good(Night) Fight
If you notice that bedtime becomes much later, the bedtime routine takes much longer, or your child lays in bed for a long period of time before falling asleep, the nap may not be working for her anymore. Some red flags to look for at bedtime include stall tactics, playing games, and singing, talking, & babbling to herself. If your little one is reluctant to go to bed at night, it might be time to start minimizing her daytime sleep.
3. Successful Nap Skipping
If your toddler begins successfully skipping the afternoon nap (meaning she's happy, her attitude is good, and there are no nasty meltdowns!) it's a good sign she's ready to transition fulltime.
4. Good Night's Sleep Without A Nap
In some cases, skipping the nap may actually cause issues with nighttime sleep. If you notice that, on the occasions without a nap, your little one still sleeps well at night without frequent, middle of the night wake-ups, then she may be ready to drop the nap altogether.
5. Earlier Morning Wake-ups 😫
Toddlers need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep. If your child is still napping and starts waking up earlier in the morning, it may be because biology is telling her she's had enough sleep.
3 Signs You May Want To Keep The Nap:
1. Not Enough Sleep Hours
In general, toddlers need approximately 12-14 hours of sleep a night. If she doesn’t get at least 12 hours at night, it’s likely she still needs that nap during the day.
2. Undesirable Behavior When Naps Are skipped
If your child skips a nap, and you notice afternoon meltdowns, trouble concentrating, or overtired behavior, it may be best to hold on to the nap a little longer.
3. Falling asleep randomly
If your little one doesn't nap and you notice her acting drowsy or falling asleep during a snack or activity, a nap is probably still warranted.
Perhaps the best way to evaluate your little one's need for a midday nap is to start evaluating her behavior with naps vs. without naps. By monitoring her mood and emotions, you'll get a good sense of what is best for her (and you!). According to Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and author of over 30 parenting books, it's important to remember one general rule when it comes to naps:
Naptime should be a pleasant oasis in the middle of a busy day...
I like the sound of that.
Good luck, fellow toddler-parent warriors!