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Is your child ready to give up her nap?

Have your child’s naps become unpredictable?

Maybe bedtime has become really challenging most nights…

But then your son or daughter will crash HARD for a nap for 3+ hours and you think, “It can’t possibly be time to give up the nap!” (And you really like that quiet time you get in the afternoon!)

I get asked all the time about the right age and the signs that it’s time to transition to no nap.

The range that I’ve seen is 2.5-5 years, BUT the average age is between 3-3.5 years.Toddler Sleep Consultant Chicago

Some signs to look for that can indicate your child is ready to ditch the nap:

  • if you let your child take a 3 hour nap, she would – and is very grumpy if you wake her up earlier
  • your child is fooling around at naptime and not falling asleep most days
  • it takes a long time for your child to fall asleep so the nap ends later and then bedtime is pushed back
  • it’s hard for your child to fall asleep at bedtime – lots of stalling in the bedtime routine and taking a long time to fall asleep once lights are out
  • you’ve noticed your child waking earlier than normal on a consistent basis
  • on days that your child skips the nap, she may be grumpy in the late afternoon or evening, but there’s less drama at bedtime and she falls asleep quicker

Kids this age should be getting about 12-13 hours of total sleep in a 24 hour period, so if your child is taking a 3 hour nap, a 9-10 hour night is a good amount of sleep. In many cases, that means an 8pm-5am night, and 5am is waaaaay too early to start your day! It’s also important to maximize that night sleep because that’s the most restorative sleep for growth and development.

When you’re looking to see if your child is ready to give up the nap, remember:

  • look at the signs above – if one or more are occurring regularly (ie more than 2 weeks in a row), it’s less likely to be due to a cold or milestone and your child is likely ready to make the transition
  • it’s much better to have an earlier bedtime than a later bedtime and better to maximize the number of hours of night sleep instead of bulking up the naptime hours
  • once you do decide to get rid of the nap, here’s a post with helpful suggestions on implementing quiet time
  • it can take 4-6 weeks for your child to adjust to being awake all day once you get rid of the nap…as her body adjusts, she may get really grumpy at dinnertime or act a little crankier during the day, but that will soon pass!


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Other posts you may be interested in:

The End of Naptime…a Sad Day!

Moving From a Crib to a Big Bed?

Kid Approved Healthy Snacks and Treats

How to Organize Your Child’s Messy Room


Photo Credit: Deposit Photos | belchonock

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