If you are anything like me, you breathe, eat and sleep naps. It’s all I think about. Did my little guy get a good nap, did he skip his nap, is he going to fight his nap? So of course when my just-turned-one year old surprised me by consistently fighting his second nap of the day, I lost it a little. Was he already ready for just one nap?! I did what most moms do, searched the internet high and low for answers. Here’s what I found.
Somewhere between 6-9 months, babies usually switch from 3 to 2 naps a day. Then somewhere between 12-18 months the 2-1 transition happens. Figuring out when to make this transition can be tricky so here are some signs to watch for.
Signs That your Child Needs TWO NAPS Daily.
- Your child is under 12 months old
- When you put your child down for a nap he plays, resists, or fusses for awhile but always ends up sleeping for an hour or more
- When you take your child for car rides during the day he usually falls asleep
- If your child misses a nap he is fussy or acts tired until the next nap or bedtime
- Your child is dealing with a change in his life (such as a new sibling, sickness, or starting daycare) that disrupts his nap schedule
- Your child misses naps when you’re on the go, but when you are at home he takes two good naps
Signs That Your Child Is Ready to Change to ONE DAILY NAP.
- When you put your child down for a nap he plays or fusses before falling asleep, and then takes only a short nap, or never falls asleep at all
- Your child can go for car rides early in the day and not fall asleep in the car
- When your child misses a nap he is cheerful and energetic until the next nap or bedtime
- Your child naps well for one of his naps, but totally resists the other nap
There are lots of ways your child may let you know his napping schedule needs tweaking. So pay attention. Making the switch before your child is ready can lead to miserable days and a return to nighttime wake-ups, since overtired kids tend to sleep worse than well-rested ones. Before you decide to consolidate naps, see whether fiddling with your toddler’s schedule solves the problem. This is what I ended up doing. I extended the wake times between naps 1 and 2 and it worked! For now at least.