The Transition to One Nap

The time will come when your toddler stops falling asleep for their morning or afternoon nap.  They’ll either play right through it or fall asleep too late into it.  You’ll have the hunch that it is time to transition to one nap. 

Is it though? 

 Most toddlers make the transition to one nap between 15 and 18 months of age. However, according to Dr. Weissbluth, 23% of 18-month-olds are still taking two naps a day!  There is no rush to transition to one nap so before you decide to drop your toddler’s morning nap, make one last attempt to salvage your two-nap schedule. 

However, if you have given the suggested methods a try for one week, get ready for the transition to one nap! It isn’t easy and it isn’t fun, but with time and consistency your little one will settle right in to their new schedule. 

 

Your Toddler’s One Nap Schedule

Naptime:

Ultimately the remaining nap will begin between 12:30 and 1pm, but since that is likely quite the jump for your little one we will ease them into their new schedule by gradually pushing naptime until this biologically appropriate sleep window is comfortably reached. How?

  •  Day 1-3: aim to have the nap begin at 12:00pm 

  • Day 4-6: aim to have the nap begin at 12:15pm

  • Day 7-9: aim to have the nap begin at 12:30pm

You will keep their nap at 12:30pm while they settle into their new schedule. After one month of a 12:30pm nap, your toddler will likely be able to manage the transition to a 1pm naptime, in the same manner as above – gradually.  Careful though! If you move your child’s nap up and it’s length drastically shortens, return to the previous timing and wait at least two weeks before trying again. 


Bedtime: 

This is a huge transition for your child! To prevent them from becoming overtired, you will want to move bedtime very early to compensate. 

 Your little should be asleep for the night between 5 and 5:30pm! 

 This will ensure they get all the sleep they need in a 24-hour period and will not cause them to wake early! In fact, it’s a too late bedtime will cause your child to wake too early in the morning.

What to Expect

Naps will be short the first week or two! With time, the nap will lengthen. In the meantime, use that early bedtime to help your child get all the sleep they need.

Your child will be more likely to fall asleep in the car!  We do not want your little one to take a nap in the car or in a stroller.  To avoid a cat-nap on the go, get out early in the morning or in the afternoon after their nap. Skip late-morning/early afternoon activities temporarily to protect your little one’s healthy sleep!

The first few days your toddler will likely start to crash at or around 10:00am.Have a snack ready to enjoy at this point to help give them the energy they need to keep going!

Your child will be tired and cranky! You will even be tempted to revert to a two-nap schedule. Don’t! Be consistent – when you begin the transition to one nap, do not go back.It will be too difficult for your little one’s body to flip back and forth.Consistency is best to help set their schedule!


*The original version of this article appeared on Macaroni Kid in March, 2018.

Well Rested Baby is a team of certified sleep consultants that helps families like yours identify, address, and correct their children’s sleep issues. WRB works with moms and dad’s to create customized sleep plans that reflect a family’s comfort level and philosophies. When paired with WRB’s 360-approach, the entire family is set up for sleep success. WRB offers a variety of support packages. Contact WRB today to schedule a consultation or learn more about how we can help you and yours get the sleep you need and deserve.