Three signs your child is ready to drop a nap

Mar 11, 2021 | Key Sleep Tips, Naps

Sometimes things aren’t always determined by age! For some parents, it can be tricky to know whether and when your baby is ready to drop a nap and make a nap transition. This goes for 3 naps to 2 naps, 2 naps to 1 nap or even 1 nap to NONE.

First, let’s take a look at when babies are generally ready for each nap transition:

Four naps to three: 4-5 months

Three naps to two: 7-8 months

Two naps to one: 16/18 months

One nap to none: 3-4 years of age

Again, sometimes it’s tricky to know exactly when baby is ready for these transitions, but there are always certain signs we can watch for:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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1. No tired signs – your child is simply not showing any tired signs (yawns, eye rubs, etc.) after their usual amount of awake time/at their “normal” naptime.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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2. Taking a long time to fall asleep – Babe is consistently taking a long time to fall asleep (e.g. kiddo used to take just 5-10 minutes to fall asleep and now is consistently taking 20-30). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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3. Skipping naps – Naps are being refused altogether – if your 7 month old is consistently refusing the third nap of the day, your 17 month old is always refusing the second nap, or your 3 year old is not snoozing for their mid-day rest, this may be a sign that we’re ready to transition out of that nap.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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That being said… Don’t jump the gun and eliminate the nap too early. Watch for signs like the ones above that your child is ready to transition, and give it at least a week or two before switching, to be sure. Don’t bid naps farewell too soon. A few days of nap resistance does not mean your child is ready to give up his nap.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Also keep in mind, for infants, “dropping a nap” usually comes fairly naturally as you increase your baby’s awake time between each sleep throughout the day – as baby gets older and you increase those awake times, you will run out of time for the last nap of the day and then that nap will get “dropped.” Check out our blog on when to increase baby’s awake time to get some more info and advice on this! And, if you’re in those tricky transitional ages (4-8 months where we go from 4 naps, to 3, to 2!) and 11-18 months (where baby is prepping for the transition from 2 naps to 1), check out our Sleep Guides for more information on scheduling and awake times for these stages.

Erin Junker is a Professional Infant & Toddler Sleep Consultant, and owner of The Happy Sleep Company, working closely with tired parents to help them help their little ones get the healthy, restful sleep they need. Follow The Happy Sleep Company on Instagram and Facebook – let’s get your family the healthy, happy sleep you deserve!

Disclaimer: I only provide reviews and recommendations for products when I feel they are of great quality. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I am a member of several affiliate marketing programs and, as such, I do receive a commission for purchases made through some product links on this website.

The advice provided by The Happy Sleep Company is not a substitute for medical advice. The advice on this website is provided solely for informational purposes in connection with common early childhood sleep issues that are wholly unrelated to medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health practitioner with questions regarding medical conditions or the health or welfare of your child. 

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