When Should My Child Transition to One Nap?

The average age to transition from 2 naps to one nap is between 15 and 18 months.  I know when I first learned this years ago I was amazed.  The preschool I used to work at transitioned children to one nap at 12 months.  And they aren’t the only daycare or preschool that does.   Unfortunately that may not be in your child’s best interest.  Keep reading for signs that your child is ready to drop from 2 naps to 1.

So how do you know what your child is ready to drop a nap?  The first thing to pay attention to is your child’s age.  The average age to drop to one nap is 15 – 18 months.  Of course that’s just an average age, some children may be a little younger and some may be a little older, but if your child is much younger, there may be other things going on, and I would not assume they were ready for one nap.  Here are some signs, besides age, that tell you your child is ready, or is getting ready:

  1. Your child starts taking a long time to fall asleep for their morning nap.
    If your child starts taking longer and longer to fall asleep for their morning nap, they may be getting ready to stay up longer and may make it to just an afternoon nap.  Also if they start pushing their morning nap later, then they may not go down for their afternoon nap and that can cause overtiredness issues at bedtime.
  2. Your child takes a morning nap, but then starts refusing their afternoon nap.
    If your child starts only taking a morning nap and then refuses their afternoon nap, they will have a very long awake period before bedtime.  This will cause them to most likely be overtired at bedtime, which can cause night and early morning wake ups.

Some children may easily transition to one nap a day.  Some may just one day stop napping in the morning, then fall asleep around 12 or 1 and take a long nap.  If your child isn’t one of those children, here are some tips to make the transition easier:

  1. Be prepared for an earlier bedtime on days when naps don’t go as planned.
    If your child only takes a morning nap, or takes one short nap, they may need an earlier bedtime that day so they do not become too overtired.
  2. Be open to a one or two nap day.
    While you are making the transition from 2 to 1 nap, there may be days when your child needs 2 naps instead of 1 and that is okay.
  3. If your child goes to a school that insists on transitioning them to one nap early, it is okay to let them have 2 nap days on the weekends.

While the transition may seem a little stressful, it will not last long, and once your child is on one nap a day, that will hopefully be a nice long nap!  During this time, you may need to adjust bedtime a little earlier because remember, children who are overtired sleep worse than children who are well rested.  So we want to make sure your child doesn’t get overtired.

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