Naptime For Toddlers

Naptime for toddlers can be a source of both joy and frustration for parents. It’s hard to know if your child is getting the right amount of sleep, especially when there are so many conflicting opinions. If you’re struggling with naptime, take heart – there are plenty of resources and strategies available to help you navigate this important aspect of your child’s development.

Rules of Thumb

By the time they turn two, most kids have cut down from two naps to one.

But a year is a huge gap to cover in this case. Changing your child’s nap routine is a big deal; you shouldn’t base it solely on their age.

Naps in the morning and afternoon are still necessary if your child sleeps for an hour or more each time. Your child may only need one nap per day if they constantly fuss or chatters to themselves in the crib but never falls asleep or sleeps for less than an hour.

Adopting a regular schedule.

Similarly, if your child seems irritable or overtired when missing a nap, it’s probably still beneficial to give him or her two naps. The same holds true if they tend to nod off during daytime car rides.

Your toddler may seem fine if he skips a nap on the weekend due to the erratic nature of his schedule. If, however, he still willingly takes two naps once he’s back to his regular schedule, you should do the same.

Over time, you may find that your child has trouble falling asleep for both his morning and afternoon naps. Your child may only require one nap per day, and it’s likely to be in the afternoon. Nap time should probably be moved to right after lunch instead.

Better changes.

When your child is down to one nap per day, you may start to wonder (and worry) when they will reach the next napping milestone of no longer needing naps. This can happen as early as age 3 for some kids. Others don’t develop this skill until they’re 5 or 6. However, by age 4, the majority of children have stopped napping.

The amount of sleep your toddler needs at night will have a major impact on how often they need naps. Your three- or four-year-old might be ready to forego naps (ready or not!) if he or she is sleeping for at least 12 hours at night without showing signs of fatigue during the day.

Your child’s resistance to naps may increase as she participates in more activities, such as playgroups, preschool, and other programs. Indeed, she has obligations that prevent her from staying put.


Nonetheless, many parents are taken aback when their child reverts to their old napping routine weeks or even months after they had hoped the new no-nap routine would stick.

Sometimes this happens when your kid starts a new, more strenuous activity, like dance or soccer, or when they shift gears in their daily routine to accommodate it. Should this occur, you should let your child go back to their usual nap time. The body of your child is requesting the rest that sleep provides.

If your child has stopped taking naps before the age of 4, you may want to consider implementing “quiet time,” a period when he can rest with his stuffed animals or books. He can relax and save his strength for later in the day. More than that, it will give you some time to relax and unwind.

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