Moving from 4 to 3 naps or 3 to 2 naps is usually pretty easy! The transition from 2 naps to 1 nap can stress parents out though!
And rightfully so!
This transition can be quite difficult for some kiddos and test the patience of their parents!
But, I’m here to help!
The reason that this transition can be more difficult is because we’re ultimately extending the baby’s wake window by a lot more than the other transitions require. They’re going from having one morning nap and one afternoon nap to needing to stay awake all morning to midday.
The nitty gritty before deciding that it’s time for transitioning to one nap:
· The average age for this transition is 12-18 months. However, it typically occurs between 14-16 months.
· The process could take 4-6 weeks before it starts to feel normal again. This is because we are changing their biological clock by a good amount of time!
· Always keep in mind developmental milestones, especially if your baby is on the younger side of the typical age range for this transition. If you suspect this is due to a milestone, wait about 1-2 weeks more.
· Take a look at the total daytime sleep and try to keep it around 3 hours.
· If your little one has an exceptionally long morning nap and isn’t taking the afternoon nap, try capping the morning nap before dropping to one nap. So, if they nap 2 hours in the morning, wake them up after 1.5 hours then try for an afternoon nap. If this works, great! If this isn’t working after 1-2 weeks of trying, then begin the process of dropping to one nap.
Signs to look for:
1. Morning nap is getting longer and/or hanging around the 2-2.5 hour mark.
2. Baby is either taking a very long time to fall asleep or not falling asleep at all for the afternoon nap.
3. Baby does fall asleep for afternoon nap, but the nap is very short.
*Make sure baby is doing one or more of the above 4-5 days per week for 2 weeks straight before deciding to drop the second nap
So, baby is ready for one nap. Now what?!
First, it’s important to know that if you decide to make this switch, you’ll want to stick with it to avoid confusing the baby’s body clock. Your baby will still seem tired at their normal nap time. This is a great time to offer a snack of fruit, get outside to play or play in water! Or, you could do all 3 to help extend their awake time!
How to make the transition:
Step 1: Start by moving baby’s morning nap later by half an hour for 3 days and let her sleep as long as she wants.
Step 2: Still put baby down for afternoon nap around 2:30/3:00pm to help take edge off until bedtime. Your baby most likely won’t fall asleep but she’s at least resting (and you’re getting a bit of a breather). If she does fall asleep, don’t let her sleep past 3:30-4:00pm to make sure you’re on track for bedtime. If she never falls asleep, you can move bedtime earlier.
Step 3: Continue moving back morning nap time until nap lands at 12:00/12:30pm. Ideally, nap will be anywhere from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. If she wakes after one hour of being asleep, give her 30 minutes to fall back asleep. If she does not, move bedtime up to as early as 6:00pm.
Eventually, your child’s day will ideally look like this:
7:00am Wake up for the day
Do you have questions regarding this transition? Click here to contact us and learn more about our Nap Transition Package!