Bringing a baby into the world and then caring for them can be a daunting process for most new mums and from the very start it seems that majority of conversation topics and questions revolve around sleeping. How do you get your baby to sleep? How do you make sure they stay asleep? Are they getting enough sleep? How will I know when they are ready to drop from two naps to one?
Most children between the ages of 12-24 months will drop their morning nap and start to have just one longer sleep per day. The 12 month difference in the average is testament to the fact that all children are different so it is more important that you watch your child than just the calendar when working out when the change is needed, however we generally say that most babies will drop to one nap somewhere in the range of 14-18 months. There are many signs that they may display and if you are unsure if your child is ready to adjust their daily sleep routine then below is a list of ways to know if that time has come.
How to know when your child is ready to drop down to one sleep a day:
• Your child can go for a car ride during the day without the gentle motion putting them to sleep
• Your child misses a nap and yet still remains happy and energetic until their next nap time (or bed time)
• Your child starts to fuss or play more at their usual sleep time and it takes at least 30 minutes to get them to sleep. Then, when they finally do go to sleep, their sleep time is shorter.
• Your child naps well for one of their naps but then totally refuses the other.
• If your child is sleeping more than 11 hours at night and waking up later in the morning.
It's a good thing to think of it less like dropping a nap and more of a change in their schedule. When toddlers change to one sleep during the day its usually a melding of the two original sleeps with the one nap time being longer than a singular nap use to be but not quite as long as if the two were combined.
When you are ready to start the transition, it is a good idea to do it gradually rather than an abrupt change to their usual schedule. Keep an eye on their tired signs and push their morning sleep back to 11:00 the first few days, then 11:20 for the next two etc. Keep delaying their nap in 20 increments and if they are responding well to this than over a week or two you should have them comfortably adjusted to just the one sleep (usually going down around 12 midday) each day.
Although it may feel like yet another sleep adjustment you need to make in your little one's short life it is an important one, both for parent and child. They are getting older and like us require less sleep and longer wake times to be active, learn and have fun. Forcing two sleeps when they no longer need it will just make you both frustrated.
The good thing is you can now organise longer activities out in the morning and if you have another small child that still sleeps during the day it can give you a larger block of 'you' time to get some other stuff done while they sleep (or to simply enjoy that hot drink in peace). So, if after reading all the above you believe your little person is ready, then pop on the kettle and start making the change.
Mostly, try to enjoy it as before you know it they will be dropping that final sleep altogether and then it is a WHOLE different ball game.
If you would like personalised help with any sleep issue for a child, newborn to 5 years, contact Katie Forsythe at The Baby Sleep Co today on 0457 473 725 or click here to send us an email.
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