The 2 to 1 Nap Transition
You would think as a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant, I would be an expert at sleep with my own children. But sometimes "the cobbler's children have no shoes." We've been struggling with my 15 month old's schedule for a few weeks. He usually sleeps 7pm -
7am with a morning nap and afternoon nap. Well, lately he's been waking a bit early and
fighting his afternoon nap. He would end up waking from his morning nap at 10:30 and then be awake the rest of the day. He was a mess by 4pm. After a week of this, I finally realized that it was time to eliminate the morning nap.
When does this happen?
This transition usually takes place between 14-18 months. Rarely is a child ready before 14 months, so if it seems like your younger child is ready for the transition, take a look at adjusting their schedule before completely dropping the first nap. Regressions are also common around this age, so they may fight a nap for a week or two and then happily fall back into their two nap schedule.
Is your child ready for 1 nap?
Here are some clues that your child may be ready to drop to one nap:
- Early morning wakings
- Difficulty falling asleep at the usual bedtime
- Fighting morning or afternoon nap
- Non-existent morning or afternoon nap
How to make this transition?
The first step is to identify the one nap schedule that will work best for your family. My perfect schedule is night sleep from 7pm-7am and nap from 12pm-2pm or 3pm. Now that I have my goal schedule, I start working towards those times in small increments. My 15 month old usually took his morning nap at 9:00, so I gradually pushed back that nap time by 15-30 minutes each day. I also moved up bedtime for a few days while we transitioned. If he was sleeping from 10am-12:30pm, I moved bedtime up to 6pm so he wouldn't get overtired. Once we reached the 12pm nap time, I was able to move bedtime back to 7pm.
Tips for a smooth transition
- Be patient and consistent. Naps take a bit of time to sort out, so stick with it.
- Be active. I found that getting outside or staying busy during the morning helped us push the morning nap back quicker.
- Adjust bedtime. Move up bedtime to prevent your child from getting overtired.
- Listen to your child. If your child is a mess at 10am, put him down for a nap. The schedule is important but it's not worth a cranky child.
If you're struggling on how and when to make this transition, let me help you! Contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation.