Saying Goodbye to Naps
The thought of the end of naptime is terrifying for many parents. No more peaceful house for 2 or 3 hours every afternoon. No more time alone to get things done. No more…naps. Although it seems scary, it’s not as bad as you think. The great news is that your day is no longer dictated by getting home right at naptime. You can do so many more things with your child. You can schedule classes, lessons, play dates and no longer have to worry about the time. It’s actually pretty fun, but getting through the stage where your child doesn’t need the nap anymore but can’t quite stay awake all day is pretty tough. It can take several weeks to really get through this stage. It is one of the hardest sleep transitions your child (and you) will have to make, but I do have some great tips to help you get through.
First, you need to know when your child is ready to make this transition. The age when children are ready can vary greatly. Some children are ready as early as 2 years old and some not until they are 4. You will know when your child is ready when you start to see a big change in their ability to fall asleep at bedtime. Most children will still get into their crib or bed easily, but won’t be able to fall asleep. You may hear your child chatting to their teddy bear or singing songs. If you have a child who sleeps in a bed, you may catch them playing in their room or frequently coming out to see what you are doing.
No matter what your little one is doing, if you find that they are taking an hour or more to fall asleep (when previously this wasn’t a problem) for at least 2 weeks, it is a sign that they don’t need that daytime sleep anymore. That being said, it can be very difficult for toddlers to get through the day with no nap at all and you may find your little one asleep in all sorts of different places (usually their dinner!).
To make this transition easier, be sure to implement “quiet time” every day for 30 min to 1 hour. Ideally “quiet time” will take place in your child’s bedroom and is a time where they can read or play quietly alone. If your child won’t stay in their room alone, you can sit and read or play with them calmly so that it is a relaxing period of time. Make quiet time as early in the day as possible, before lunch is best, as your child may fall asleep. If this happens, limit the nap to 30 min so that it doesn’t interrupt bedtime. You may find your little one is very cranky when you wake them, this is very common and something you will have to push through in order to get your child’s body used to going through the day without sleep.
Getting though the afternoon will be the toughest part. Your child will start to get tired and fussy so be sure to schedule trips to the playground or walks at this time to get some fresh air. If going outside isn’t an option, get creative in order to keep your little one awake. Try turning on music and dancing or playing hide and seek.
My final tip is to make sure your child has an early bedtime during this transition. Bedtime should not be any later than 7 pm. If you feel like your child can’t make it that long, you can adjust bedtime to 30-45min earlier to prevent them from getting overtired during the transition.
Keep in mind, this is a hard transition to make and you will need to be patient with your child during this time. It could take up to 6 weeks for your little one to completely adjust to going all day without a nap, so do your best to have fun while helping your child get through their crankiness.
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