Tips to help the transition from two naps to one
Dropping from two naps to one nap a day can happen anywhere between the ages of 12 and 18 months, so how do you know when YOUR toddler is ready to transition to just one nap, and if they are ready – then what!!??
How to tell if your child is ready
Consider both of your child’s current naps. You may find that the first nap of the day is great. It might even be better than ever; she goes down well and it’s a long nap. But then, when it’s time for her afternoon nap, there’s a whole lot of resistance.
Either she fights the whole thing, or she plays in her cot, or she only sleeps for 20-30 minutes. If something like this is happening roughly three or four times a week, it can be a good indicator that your toddler is ready to move to one nap a day.
If you think your child is ready, keep reading these five simple tips to see how to make the transition as smooth as possible:
Make the decision and stick to it!
It will be a lot easier for your toddler’s body rhythm to get in line with a new routine if it’s consistent. Waffling back and forth between two naps some days and one nap another day will make it harder to consolidate the new routine. If you think she’s ready – make the change.
The faster you move into things, and the more consistent you are with them, the easier it will be for your baby’s body to get in line with what’s happening. Once you’ve made the choice you’ve got to stick to it, even if that means you have a rough couple of days as you begin the transition.
Ease into the timings
Don’t push to make too big a change in nap timings straight away.
The perfect time to start the only nap of the day is 12:30pm; however, if your child usually starts her nap at 10:00am, jumping straight to 12:30pm on day one will probably be too much for her. You’ll need to ease into this gradually.
My advice is to move her nap by 30 minute increments every three days until you get to the appropriate time. Once you’re there, then that’s where it stays.
Give it time
Ideally, this one nap a day will last for two or three hours. However, it’s very common for children to start with shorter periods of sleep as they’re transitioning.
It can be alarming if your child is only taking a one-hour nap only once a day, but give it time. It usually takes 4-6 weeks for the body to adjust to significant changes in sleeping habits. Hang in there!
Take the edge off with a catnap
If the naps are not yet long enough, or you’re starting them earlier than preferable initially, what are you going to do for the rest of your day to get her through until bedtime?
I recommend a catnap so your toddler can get to bedtime without getting too overtired. If you push through without any rest, you’ll likely find bedtime becomes a struggle due to overtiredness.
So, if your toddler wakes before 01:00pm, then around 03:00pm that day, go out for a drive or a walk and see if she will take a 20-30 minute catnap. I’m normally against naps in the car or pram (they’re not quality sleeps) but in this instance its fine to take the edge off. This way you can get her to bedtime, or close to it, without her being too overtired.
Move bedtime earlier
Another thing you can do during the transition is move bedtime earlier. If she’s normally in her cot at 7:00pm, you can move that up to 6:30pm for a few weeks. Moving her usual timings out by 30 minutes will not disrupt her overall schedule.
Again, overtiredness is something you should be watching out for. An overtired child has trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep. An earlier bedtime can help ease some of the fatigue that may be setting in with the change, and reduce associated bedtime issues.
The transition from two naps to one is one of the trickiest changes; but by following these tips, you’re likely to have a great napper within four weeks.
However, if you’re still having bedtime battles or the lack of sleep is affecting you and your family. Contact me to arrange your FREE 15 minute phone consultation. Because everyone needs a good nights sleep!