I'm not crying, you're crying.
Actually we are all crying.
No mother is ever truly ready for the day when daytime naps need to be over! That break right in the middle of the day you could always count on. Poof. Gone.
Most children will be ready to drop the nap between 2.5 and 3.5 years old. Sleep needs change over time, and as your child matures, they simply don't need as much sleep as they once did - but that doesn't mean they don't still need a break or some downtime (you too, right, mom?)
Here to save the day is...drumroll please...Quiet Time!
Implementing quiet time will be key to helping your child get through the day, especially if they don't take a nap.
How do you know when it's time to drop the nap?
Well, as a sleep consultant, I always recommend prioritizing night sleep over naps at this age because night sleep is more restorative. Nighttime is when all the magic happens, so we definitely want to make sure it's quality sleep, and sometimes, in order to do this, we need to drop the nap. If your child is fighting bedtime or taking a long time to fall asleep, it might be time. Also, if a nap during the day is pushing bedtime later and later. For example, if your child is waking at 7:00 a.m., napping from 12:00-1:30 p.m., and you want bedtime to be at 7:00 p.m., chances are this lovely schedule won't hold up forever as their sleep needs change. Eventually, that 1.5-hour nap right in the middle of the day is going to give them enough of a boost to not be able to fall asleep at night, causing bedtime to get pushed later and later, maybe even 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. Ideally, we want our children to be going to bed between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., all dependent upon when they need to wake for the day. Shoot for 11-12 hours of nighttime sleep.
So, now that we've identified that it is time to pull the nap to ensure quality, restorative nighttime sleep, we need to have a plan. No worries, I've got you covered in four easy steps:
Set clear expectations.
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