When your child naps, it’s a great opportunity to get some much-needed cleaning done, have a nap yourself or just relax on the couch. I love nap time and was always hesitant to ask when do kids stop napping because I never wanted it to happen! The truth is, nothing lasts forever. This is especially true for your child’s nap.
As your little one gets older, the naps that used to be a solid part of your baby’s routine will slowly decrease and then stop altogether.
Anticipating when the naps will come to an end can be confusing. So, how do you know when your child is ready to stop napping and how do you handle the transition?
When Do Kids Stop Napping? At What Age?
Within the first year of your child’s life, their sleep routine changes drastically. In just 12 months, your little one will go from needing anywhere from five to six naps every day, to only two. These naps are usually clearly defined as one nap in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Once your kids reach 15-18 months old, those two naps will dwindle down to just one, usually taken in the afternoon.
Some children will be done with afternoon naps by the time they reach the age of two, but others will continue to nap well past the age of five. Most children, however, generally stop napping sometime between the age of three and four.
Signs Your Child is Ready to Nix the Naps
- Doesn’t seem tired – Keep an eye on your little one’s behaviour. If your child looks to be full of energy around nap time, it may be time to put a stop to them.
- Fights the nap – Whether your children outright refuse to stay in bed or voice that they don’t want to nap directly to you, they may be making it very clear they don’t need one anymore.
- Trouble falling asleep – Oftentimes this is one of the initial signs that your little one is ready to nix the nap. If you find your children taking a long time to fall asleep at naptime, it may be because they just aren’t tired. Or they take so long to fall asleep that it messes up their normal bedtime.
- In good spirits – When your little one can easily make it from morning to bedtime without becoming extremely fussy, it may be time for naps to become obsolete.
- Falls asleep easily at night – If your child doesn’t nap when they need to, they may experience more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at bedtime. If they are not napping and falling asleep just fine, then it may be time to drop the nap.
- Trouble falling asleep at night – When you little one actually does take a nap does it take them forever to fall asleep at night? This was the main problem with my daughter. If she took a nap she would not fall asleep but would play in her bed until 11:00 at night. Even if she took a catnap in the car for 15 mins then bedtime was a struggle.
How to Transition to No Naptimes
When your little one has begun to show signs that they are ready to stop napping, it is a good idea to make it a slow transition. Make small adjustments to your daily routine to make the transition from naptime to quiet time easier for you and your child.
- Start Slow – Some little ones will love the idea of quiet times while others will fight it. Start quiet time out slowly in small increments, and don’t take naps off the table right away. It is a good idea to shorten the naptimes before you fully phase them out.
- Treat Quiet time like Naptime – Quiet time is a chance for your little ones to get some rest without actually falling asleep. Have a set routine for quiet time, the same way you had a routine for afternoon naps. The end game is rest and relaxation for your child.
- Have Quiet Activities Prepared – Have a selection of activities prepared when it’s time to participate in quiet time. Things like coloring, reading and even soothing television programs are all great activities to have ready for quiet time. I especially like the website HowWeeLearn.com that has awesome quiet time activity ideas.
- Have a Designated Quiet Space – Your little one’s bedroom is the best place for them to relax and engage in quiet time. Dim the lights and stick with your pre-nap routines to help your child get ready to have their quiet time. This also allows for them to fall asleep if they need, nap time should be phased out slowly.
- Be Flexible and Consistent – Just as you were consistent with your child’s naps, it is a good idea to stay consistent with their quiet time routines. Staying consistent will make it easier for your child to start looking forward to their quiet time. It is always smart to keep in mind that some days will be easier than others. Figure out what works best for your family unit and stick to it.
As your little one gets older, the naps will start to become a distant memory. The question of when do kids stop napping is answered by watching for the signs that your little one is ready and help them to transition slowing. Quiet time is a great nap alternative and still allows for your little one to relax, and wind down.
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