Saying goodbye to your hour or two of free time in the afternoons can be hard, I know. But knowing when it’s time to pull the plug on your child’s naps can be even harder. They typically don’t make the transition easily, but I have some tips today to help you determine when the time is right, and how to implement the change.
And I know I can remember going through it with all three of my kids, that day where I had to accept the fact that my toddler no longer needed that two or three hour afternoon nap.
So I want to give you a few tips today to sort of decide if it’s time and what you should do if you’re ready.
So I find that it really comes down to a choice on your part. Most toddlers will happily take their afternoon nap and they’ll usually sleep for a good two or three hours. However, the trouble starts at bedtime.
So if you’re finding that your toddler is now stalling around bedtime or wandering out into the hallway repeatedly or singing, talking, having a little party in her crib for an hour or more every night then it might be time to make a decision.
Now, you have two choices really and that is pull the nap and what that means is you would just stop offering a nap to that toddler and have her to bed by seven p.m. I would say even 6:30 p.m. for a few weeks until her body gets used to this and that will stop these hour long, two hour long play sessions in the evening and have her sleep a good 12 hours through the night.
Now, if that’s a horrifying thought to you, you really love that afternoon nap and I completely get where you’re coming from then you can keep the afternoon nap but you have to monitor your expectations around bedtime. For some kids, two and a half, three year-olds, it’s just not enough time awake between when that nap ends and bedtime to build enough fatigue to have them fall asleep in a timely manner.
So if it’s taking her longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep pretty much every night then we know that there’s just not enough fatigue and you’ll have to adjust bedtime accordingly and that could be you could just start with 30 minutes later and see if that cuts down on the time and if that doesn’t work then try an hour later and see if you can kinda find the sweet spot to have her falling asleep in a timely manner.
Now, for me, I really loved, if I had to pick, I really loved my seven o’clock bedtimes. I enjoyed that evening time. It was sort of my my time and for me, it just made sense. I’d rather pull the nap a little on the early side so that everyone’s asleep by seven but some people, like I said, they would prefer to keep that nap and just adjust bedtime accordingly.
So if you’ve decided though to pull the nap, I wanna give you a couple of tips around that. It’s going to be a tough transition. There’s no way around it. It’s a very, very hard transition for the body clock to go from taking daytime sleep to having none so you’re gonna have to prepare yourself for a little afternoon crankiness or a bit of a meltdown around the dinner hour. This is just the body adjusting to a different way of organizing sleep.
What you can do to sort of cushion this a little bit or make it a bit easier is do some sort of quiet time right when nap was going to occur.
Now, I love the idea of putting a child in her room, showing her some options of things she can do in there and setting a timer for about 30 minutes and just allowing her some space to play quietly on her own. Now, this can take a little bit of work because lots of toddlers don’t like to be on their own independently playing.
They like to be constantly entertained by you. So this is gonna take a little bit of work on your end to say this is a rule now, you have to do this. You can stay in your room and do these things, here’s your options, you’ve gotta wait till the timer goes and then mommy will come get you and we can proceed with our afternoon and I find that this little breather, this little break from you and this sort of focus on sort of quiet independent play can help get them through the rest of the afternoon without too much of a meltdown.
If she falls asleep in the car for 20 or 30 minutes as you’re going through this transition, that’s not the end of the world but I do find it’s better to pull the nap than waffle back and forth between some days she gets it and other days she doesn’t. Having it gone just helps the body clock get in line with this faster.
Alright, thanks for watching today. Sleep well.
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