Around the time of your baby’s first birthday, they’re likely to start needing slightly less daytime sleep. This usually means they can switch from two shorter daytime naps down to one longer one.
This can be a very tough transition to make. Pushing their nap time later in the day can lead to overtiredness, but letting them sleep too early in the day means they’ll be awake for too long before bedtime.
In today’s video, I’ve got a few tips to help you find the balance between these two undesirable scenarios and get your baby down to one nap a day without messing up their schedule.
Today I want to talk about the transition from two naps to one. You will most likely see this start to show up, mm, around the first birthday. I would say more the 13 to 14-month age range is pretty average for a child to be showing some signs.
Now, the signs to look for when your baby’s ready. Usually they’ll take a great morning nap. You’re getting a nice hour and a half, two-hour nap out of this little person. It’s glorious.
The trouble shows up at afternoon nap though. She’s just in there, you know, messin’ around for half an hour, maybe sleeps for 20 minutes. Or now all of a sudden she’s started to protest, cry, and whine for the first 40 minutes, again, sleep for 20. And you’re seeing this show up about five days out of the seven in a week. And that’s the tricky part.
Some days it’s perfect and you think, okay, well, we’re over it. And then the next day you’re back to the same scenario. So if this has been happening more than two weeks, because it can sometimes be just a developmental milestone if she’s learned any new skill recently. That could be what’s causing problems with that afternoon nap. So don’t jump the gun too quickly. Give it a couple of weeks.
If it’s still showing up, then that’s a good sign that it’s time to start that transition.
Now, you need to move slowly into this, again, remembering that over-tiredness is really one of the things we’re watching out for and making sure that we’re not pushing our children too hard or too far into over-tiredness. But we do need to push a little bit. So how do we balance that?
Well, basically what you’re gonna do is move your morning nap down. So we’re just taking morning nap and we’re gonna slowly move it down in the day about 30 minutes every three days or so until it hits about that 12:30 hour. I find that that’s really, for most kids, a great time for that one nap of the day.
It hits them right in their circadian rhythm where they’re usually taking a little dip. If you wait much past one o’clock, sometimes they’re pushing into a little bit of second wind and they might kinda be a little bit more wired by the time you get to that one o’clock. So just moving down.
Now, what do you do when we’re still early in the day? It might only be 10:30. We’ve just moved that nap down one time. There may be too much time from when that nap ends till bedtime. And we want to, again, keeping a close eye on over-tiredness. So you can always try for that afternoon nap.
If it hasn’t really been working hardly at all, what you may want to do instead is take her for a walk or a car ride. She’ll take a 30-minute nap in the car or the stroller. It’s a cat-nap, but it does help take that edge off a little bit so that you can keep to her regular bedtime.
You may need to move bedtime earlier, I would say half an hour, 45 minutes earlier, for those weeks that it takes to get through this transition. That’s okay, it won’t stay there. But for the short-term, it’s better to move it up earlier than push her too hard and into over-tiredness.
Last bit of advice, this transition is one of the harder of the nap transitions. So it’s going to take at least four to six weeks before you really feel like you’ve got it. And you should start to see a really nice, consolidated, two-hour, sometimes even three-hour afternoon nap happening every day.
Thanks for watching. Sleep well.
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