There are many signs that it may be time for your child to stop their daytime nap. The most common signs are waking up early, taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime, or waking in the middle of the night.
When you realize it is time to drop the nap it can be a sad day for parents. Trust me. I do understand and have lived through it. There are some things you should start to look for that may be an indicator that your child just really does not need that afternoon nap any longer.
Most children will continue to happily take their naps. They will seem tired. They will go down well.
They will sleep for a good two-hour nap. The problem arises at bedtime. They are just not tired enough at 7:00 PM to settle in for the night. This is when the games begin.
I will never forget the bedtime antics that occurred when our son began making bedtime an ordeal. I seriously began to wonder if I was in the right field of work.
Then he would wake up tired the next morning, need his afternoon nap, party until 9:00 PM and this whole cycle just continued. Once we dropped the nap our son was asleep by 7 PM and slept until 7:00 AM.
I like having my evening free. However, I have had clients who tell me, they would like to continue with the nap. It is perfectly fine to keep the afternoon nap. You just need to know then that bedtime is going to be a little bit later.
By later I mean 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. It still may take a little bit of time for your child to drift off to sleep once the light has been turned off.
Once you’ve made the decision, just go for it. The nap is gone; however, every few days you may find that your little one is an emotional mess. I would suggest a nap that day and add a later bedtime. The transition to no nap often takes 4 to 6 weeks. but can take up to 8 weeks before you are fully on one nap with zero issues at bedtime.
When you are not offering a nap, quiet activities help your child re-energize. Some children do well with quiet time in their rooms (reading books, playing with toys) and some do not like it. For those that do not like it, I suggest having some quiet go-to activities they can play with. Our favourites were playing with rice, play dough, and playing in the sink.
Even if it is a bit of a tough slog some days, just know that once their body has adjusted to this they are going to have lots of stamina to make it through the day.
If you require additional support click here to book a free 15-minute telephone consultation