The napping phase for young children can last long into their toddler years. However, eventually, your child will not need to sleep as much during the day. As your child’s brain matures, fewer naps are required as your child will naturally have more energy.
In this article, we’ll be discussing what parents can expect when their child is ready to stop napping including the signs to look out for and tips for adjusting their sleep schedule.
No More Nap Time: When Do Kids Stop Taking Naps?
The days of toddler naps can often be a blessing for parents. Knowing that your toddler will go down for a two-hour nap during the afternoon often means that you can schedule that time for a shower, a client meeting, or a nap yourself. However, like a good book or a slice of cake, toddler sleep schedules change and naps come to an end.
Many parents ask the age-old question: ‘When will my kid stop taking a nap?’ Similar to other early childhood milestones like crawling and creeping, there are general timeframes for when this milestone might happen but it is all dependent on when your toddler is ready.
For some kids, you may find that by the age of three they are ready to drop the afternoon nap. While many experts say that it’s normal for older preschoolers to still need daytime sleep. At the end of the day, your child will stop taking naps when they no longer rely on them to stay energized all day.
So, how can you tell that when your toddler is reaching that stage?
The good news is that there are signs that parents can look out for that will tell them when their toddler may be reaching the ‘no nap’ age. As this happens naturally, parents will need to stay attentive and aware of their child’s needs. Not sure what to look out for? Let’s take a look at the top signs that your toddler is ready to stop napping.
4+ Signs That Your Toddler No Longer Needs a Nap
One of the obvious signs that your child is ready to stop napping is when they no longer get tired during the day. All parents know that toddlers are full of energy but at certain points, during the morning or afternoon they will experience an ‘energy slump’. This can be characterized by eye rubbing, yawning, or frustration.
However, when they stop displaying these signs of being overly tired it is often a good indication that they are reaching the age of no longer needing naps. Yet, that isn’t the only sign. You should also notice the following:
- No mood swings: When a child becomes overtired, this instantly impacts their mood and can make them extremely irritable until they’ve had time to rest and recharge. However, a toddler that no longer needs to take a nap should have a stable mood throughout the day. While they will still have their off days, when your child is getting adequate sleep from their nighttime routine, you’ll notice fewer mood shifts during the day.
- Difficulty taking naps: Oftentimes, your toddler will tell you that they no longer need to nap when they suddenly find it hard to take a nap during the day. You may notice that your child is more restless than usual. This isn’t them fighting going to sleep – it could be a clear sign that they have enough energy as it is.
- Bedtime routine is easier: Typically a toddler that is ready to give up taking naps during the day will go to bed easier at night even without the extra sleep during the day. If your child happily goes to bed at a reasonable time and sleeps well during the night, this is generally a good sign that now is the right time to stop naps.
- Taking longer to fall asleep at bedtime: Having said that, some toddlers that are put down for a nap during the day when they don’t need it will find it harder to fall asleep at night. Taking naps when they are no longer needed will disrupt bedtime routines making it harder for your child to fall asleep.
Subtle changes to your child’s mood and their sleep requirements like the signs mentioned above will clue you into when to stop naps for toddlers. While it always happens naturally, remember that it never happens overnight. This is a gradual transition. Yet, with time you will know when is the right time to stop daytime naps for your toddler for good.
The Nap Transition: How to Adjust Your Child’s Sleep Schedule
With that said, your child will not be able to go cold turkey. Instead, you will need to transition them smoothly out of naps so that they will adjust to their new sleep schedule easily. This can take some trial and error but with the right parenting hacks, it should be met with little (to no) objections.
One of the best ways to adjust your child’s sleep schedule is to introduce the idea of ‘quiet time’ instead of nap time. This could be an hour where they read a kid’s book about music, play with a puzzle, or color a picture. The activity will need to be stimulating enough to keep their minds engaged but still soothing so they can feel rested.
This nap transition can take weeks or months before your toddler is ready to say goodbye to naps for good. The key is to remain patient and to adjust their sleep schedule accordingly so they continue to get adequate sleep each night. Some parents find that they need to move up their child’s bedtime during this transition stage, especially if their child becomes tired early at night.
Vivvi: Supporting Parents Through Early Childhood Milestones
Here at Vivvi, we understand how important the nap transition stage is for a toddler’s development. Our early learning center offers a daily routine that incorporates both nap times (for those toddlers that still need one) and quiet time (for those that are transitioning out of naps).
Our early learning program is designed to meet your child’s curiosity while also supporting them through various stages of development from when they learn how to acknowledge songs at 3-months old to when they learn how to hold utensils at 24-months and retell a story at 4 years old.
For more information about our early learning center or to organize a tour of one of our New York campuses, get in touch with the Vivvi team today.