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Dropping the last nap is a transition that is often delayed (by parents) for as long as possible! And that’s completely understandable, that nap might be the only downtime you get during the day. On the plus side, it is nice to know that you can go out for a full day without having to ‘fit’ the nap in!  

Signs it’s Time for the Transition:

This nap is mostly commonly dropped between ages 2.5 – 3 years old but this can vary greatly. Recognising when your child is ready to drop their nap can be a combination of observing their behaviour and sleep patterns.

  • Nap resistance: Your child may begin to consistently resist nap time.
  • Bedtime refusal: Your child may have trouble falling asleep at bedtime.
  • Maintained energy levels: Even without a nap, your child remains energetic and engaged until bedtime without displaying signs of exhaustion.

Strategies for a smooth transition:

  • Gradual reduction: you can gradually reduce the length of the nap (by 15 minutes at a time). Eventually the nap will be eliminated.
  • Be flexible: you may need some no nap days and some nap days for a while whilst your child adjusts.
  • Later nap: you may need to offer a later lunchtime nap. A cut off time of 2-3pm would be appropriate.
  • Quiet time: Replace nap time with quiet time. Explain your expectations to your child e.g. that expect them to play independently for x amount of time. A timer can be really useful – gradually increasing the time until your child can do this for 1 hour. Ideas for quiet time include your child independently perusing books, engaging in calm play or listening to audio books/songs. If your child falls asleep during quiet time, this is ok!
  • Early bedtime: You child will likely need an early bedtime on no nap days (as early as 6-6:30pm).
  • Energy boost: offer a snack with natural sugars to give your child an energy boost on ‘no nap days’.
  • Patience: you may find that your child can get a little grouchy on ‘no nap’ days. Full adjustment to this transition can take up to 6 weeks.

Health and Safety during quiet time:

  • A video monitor will help to ensure your child is not taking risks.
  • Ensure furniture is secured to the walls.
  • Check electrical sockets are covered.
  • A door alarm will notify you that your child has left their room – this might be useful in some houses especially if you have building work going on, etc.

For some children, this transition will be smooth. For others, it may be a abit trickier, especially for those at nursery/preschool, as these days tend to be more tiring (especially on ‘no nap days’). My advice would be not to rush this transition as it can cause havoc on their body clocks – make slow and gradual adjustments. Good luck and remember that quiet time will still offer you some downtime. 

Struggling with your toddler or pre-schoolers sleep? Check out my packages here or book in for a free 15 minute call here.  

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