Figuring out when you should transition your child from two naps to one nap can be a difficult question to answer. In most children, you will see their sleep needs start to shift around 15-18 months. You may even start to see a sign as early as 12 months old, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to transition to a one nap sleep schedule. Here are some things to look for so you can make sure it is indeed the right time to shift your child’s nap schedule.
- Are they sleeping well at night?
If your child is having multiple wake ups and is not sleeping well at night, then your child’s nap schedule could be affected. So with that in mind, it’s always important to fix night sleep issues before you try to shift nap schedules. If your child is having sound night sleep with some of the other issues below, then it might be time to transition your kiddo’s nap schedule.
- How is their nap timing?
Your child should be napping at around 9:00 am and 1:00 pm ( There may be some variation in times by an hour or so), but this is when the body naturally gets drowsy. If you are putting your child down around these times and they are sleeping well at night, but you are still finding that one of these naps is not happening consistently then it might be time to transition to a one nap schedule.
- Are both naps happening?
When parents are starting to wonder if it’s time to transition it’s usually because either the morning nap or the evening nap is no longer happening consistently. You may start to notice that your child stays up and plays for an hour or whines before they fall asleep. If your child does this for about two weeks consistently and it’s throwing off the timing of naps, it may be time to transition.
- Log your child’s nap time
One of the only ways to ensure your child is ready to transition is by learning their nap schedule and to do that you should keep a nap log. Make sure you are consistently writing down their napping habits: when they fall asleep, how long it takes, and if there is any playing or whine involved in putting them down. Then when you start to see a pattern emerge you will know they are ready to shift schedules.
- Make the move and stick with it.
When you finally decided it is time to shift your child’s nap time you need to stick with it. Ideally, you want the one nap to occur around noon. If you dropped the morning nap, you should keep your kiddo up until noon, but if you dropped the afternoon nap you will need to push your morning nap to later in the day. You may need to transition them slowly into this new time in 30-minute increments. (It may take 1-2 weeks for this transition to happen.)
It can be difficult to know for sure if your child is ready to transition. Going forward with your decision you should trust your parental instinct, but also make an informed decision based off the knowledge you gain from observing your child’s sleep schedule. If you would like more help to figure out if your child is ready to transition from two naps to one you can always book a consultation with me to help sort through the data.