I have to admit, as I write this, I sit next to my almost 6 year old son who just woke up from a nap. I obviously don’t rush taking naps away! My son is in school full-time during the school year, so he does not take naps during school days and most weekends he does not nap either. He has been staying up a little later than normal and so did need a little extra daytime sleep today.
At what age will your child stop napping?
An average child stops napping around 4 years old, but this doesn’t mean that they do not occasionally still need a nap, like my son. Remember that 4 is just the average age, some children give up naps earlier and some give them up later. Do not be in a rush to give up the naps however. If your child does need to give them up because of school, try shortening them for a bit before they have to give them up altogether.
When a nap is too much, but none is not enough
There will probably come a time when you notice that your child has trouble falling asleep at night when they do nap, but when they do not nap, they are a mess by dinner time. You could try just letting them nap for 45 minutes to an hour and then waking them up. Or you can make bedtime much earlier. When your child does stop napping, do not be surprised if their bedtime becomes a little earlier than it was when they were napping. The average total amount of sleep for a 3 year old is 12 hours and for a 4 year old it is 11.5 hours. So, you can see that bedtime will be earlier for a 4 year old that is not napping than a 3 year old that is napping.
I usually recommend children who are done napping still have some kind of quiet time during the day. This enables children to have some downtime, and if they do need an occasional nap, it is easier to get them to do that than if they never have quiet time during the day. It also gives parents a break during the day. Quiet time could be lying in their bed quietly for a set amount of time, playing quietly with calm toys such as puzzles or trains, or reading books. However you decide to do quiet time, I recommend giving your child some sort of timer or clock so they know when quiet time is over. This way they are not constantly coming out of their rooms asking if they can come out. You can use a kitchen timer, a clock that turns colors, or a regular clock. If your child can tell time, you can simply tell them what time they can come out of their room. If they cannot tell time yet, you could draw a picture of a clock with the time that they are allowed to come out and place it next to their clock.
Feel free to comment below and let me know about your child’s naps!
By Michelle Winters
Here’s my favorite toddler clock:
And here is a link to other clocks you can find on Amazon: Kid’s Alarm Clocks