Curiosity abounds in toddlers, as do their high spirits and, of course, their level of energy. While you may enjoy spending time with your child and seeing the world through their eyes, you may also enjoy the break you get when they take naps.
Both you and your child will benefit from a short period of relaxation during nap time. As a result, if your child begins to show indications of weaning themselves off of naps, you may be reluctant to accept this new development. However, this is a significant moment that should be honored.
Your infant is maturing and taking fewer naps. Plus, they’re less likely to wake you up at 4 a.m. and more likely to sleep through the night.
Is there a way for you to tell if your child is ready to give up their morning snooze? So, what can you do to make things a little bit easier for everyone involved?
When your child is no longer napping, this is what you can expect.
When Should Kids Stop Napping?
The age at which children quit napping varies from kid to child, so parents must pay close attention to their children’s individual needs. Children should generally stop napping when they no longer require a nap to maintain their energy levels throughout the day.
Many children’s naps will end on their own accord. When a youngster is ready to cease napping, there are a few telltale signs:
- When it’s time for a nap, they have trouble winding down. Nap time might be difficult for children who are no longer sleepy during the day and have a consistent mood on non-nap days. For example, youngsters may play or sing while they are in bed, or they may not be able to sleep at all.. This could be an indication that a child still needs a nap, but that the time at which it takes place needs to be modified.
- It’s hard for them to get to sleep at night. If your child takes a nap during the day, they may have trouble falling asleep at night, resulting in less sleep overall. The amount of time children spend napping might be lowered to help them fall asleep at night. Do not make your youngster stay up later than he or she wants to. Monitor the child’s sleep patterns and only put them to bed when they’re ready. Shortening naps rather than pushing bedtimes later is often preferable.
As a result, they are rising early. If your child takes a nap throughout the day when they don’t need to, they may wake up rested and ready to go for the day. Shortening your child’s naps may be a better option than completely eliminating the sleep.
- In the absence of naps, they don’t exhibit indicators of drowsiness. This means that, if you notice that your child isn’t falling asleep or battling to remain awake during the day, she may be ready to stop napping altogether.
- No longer do they have any snooze time. While they are supposed to be taking a nap, youngsters can continue to play or read without becoming sleepy.
When Do Kids Still Need Naps?
Until the age of one year, infants will sleep anywhere from one to four times a day. There are fewer and fewer naps as the brain matures. By the time they are 18-24 months old, babies only require one daily nap. Children who take short afternoon naps (less than 60 minutes) have been found to have better nighttime sleep. As long as your child is sleeping well at night, don’t limit their naps.
If your youngster is still napping, there are a few telltale indicators. Children who become more cranky or overtired at night are most likely not ready to quit sleeping. Their emotions can be harmed by a lack of sleep. Your child may still require a daily nap even if they have slept well the night before and are having trouble staying awake during the day. You can help your child prepare for the end of naptime routines by reducing the length of the nap.
5 Signs Your Toddler Should Stop Napping
Both the fatigued youngster and the exhausted parent benefit from naps. Your child can take a break from running about all day, and you can pee all by yourself for the first time. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. There comes a point in every parent’s journey when their child is done with naps, and trying to get them to take one isn’t going to help. The indicators that your child needs to cease napping are present, and you should pay heed to them.
If you’re afraid about what you’ll do when your 9-month-old daughter (who isn’t a great napper) completely stops daytime sleep, don’t keep trying to force naps on her. She’s already not a great napper, and I’m already scared about what I’ll do if she completely drops daytime sleep. It’s in everyone’s best interest if you give up that snooze.
If you still feel the need for a break and you believe your children still require some rest, consider substituting quiet time for nap time. A doctor at Einstein Pediatrics tells Romper that instead of telling toddlers to go to their rooms and conduct peaceful activities like reading books or playing with toys, they can be told to spend an hour or so in their rooms. If he is really exhausted or has difficulties sleeping the night before, this break will allow him to get some shut-eye.
You can assess whether or not your child should cease napping by looking at their eyes.
1. Your Toddler Has Difficulty Falling Asleep For Naps
The most evident indicator that your toddler is ready to give up napping is that they have a hard time falling asleep. There are some kids that just don’t like naps, even if they’re still required by their parents, and they’ll give their parents a hard time about it.
Segura, on the other hand, asserts that “it is not frequently an overnight procedure and occurs over a period of several weeks. You’ll begin to notice that your young child has difficulties going asleep at nap time and will snooze on some days but not on others.
Be patient, but also don’t hold your breath. On some days, your child may not desire a sleep, while on other days, they may appear to need one. If a youngster isn’t weary enough to nap earlier, he or she may want to nap about 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. because they’ll be running out of energy, Segura explains. Your youngster will have a tougher problem falling asleep at night if they take a late nap.” Instead, take them outside or play a game with them to keep them entertained during this time. during this changeover, plan to eat and sleep an hour earlier than usual.”
2. Your Toddler Won’t Go To Sleep At Their Usual Bedtime
Assuming, of course, that your child goes down for a nap at the regularly scheduled hour… But you’ve noticed that kids don’t want to go to sleep at their usual time. This is an indication that they should stop taking naps because they aren’t exhausted enough after one.
According to Advocate Children’s Hospital pediatric sleep medicine specialist Innessa Donskoy, “Our circadian rhythm (our internal 24-hour clock) and our sleep pressure drive are the two major processes that influence sleep. There is a gradual buildup of this urge for sleep during the day so that by the time we reach nightfall, we are able to fall asleep effortlessly and continue to pay it off. After accumulating a lot of sleep pressure, any amount of daytime compensation (such as a nap) may extend how much more time we need to get back to the “pressure” where we can fall asleep effortlessly.”
3. Your Toddler Is Very Irritable
It’s going to be difficult for kids who don’t want to take a nap to accept that they’ll have to take one. When you look at it this way, they’re just having a good time. after which they are put to bed, the lights are turned out and you tell them to go to sleep.
In the event that this does occur, they will inevitably become more temperamental since they are children and that is how they respond to things they dislike. There may be a candidate for trying to skip the sleep if the youngster is happy and composed without it or at the very least is constantly awake during the entire nap opportunity, says Donskoy.
4. If Your Child Is Around About 5 Years Old, They Can Probably Skip A Nap
Your toddler will likely cease napping at some point between the ages of 3 and 5, but it can happen as early as the age of 2. (especially if they have older siblings running around and not napping). In any case, if you see a change in your child’s behavior at the age of 5 and they are still napping, it could be an indication that they are ready to give up their afternoon nap.
According to Donskoy, “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s overall guidelines for pediatric sleep recommend total sleep periods classified by age. The recommended total sleep time for a child up to the age of five includes a daytime nap. After this point, it’s expected that all of a child’s sleep is done at night.
When it comes to naps after age 5, Donskoy points out that they may potentially be a sign of poor sleep quality at night, if the child appears to need them. Even though you want your child to sleep through the night by the time they are 5, taking a nap may be an indication that something needs to be changed in regards to their nocturnal sleep schedule.
5. Your Toddler Doesn’t Seem Tired At All At Nap Time
You’ll note that when your child is ready to give up naps, not only are they resisting naps, but they don’t appear to be weary at all. Toddlers are at their baseline around the time the nap would normally approach if they aren’t napping anymore.” They won’t be’revving up,’ and they won’t be in a state of panic. “They will be doing the same things they are doing at any other time of the day,” Donskoy asserts.
If this is the case, consider missing your nap. Your child may no longer need naps if they are happy and content without them. Donskoy stresses the importance of paying attention to these indications and promoting stress-free approaches to sleep chances, which allow youngsters to form happy sleep memories that will last a lifetime.
How to drop a nap?
In order to reduce the number of naps your child takes, you must first reduce the length of the one they do take, which may take months or even years, depending on your child’s age.
Because they’re no longer in need of a nap, kids who don’t need one tend to go to bed earlier and sleep better at night.
You may, however, give your child a little nudge in the right direction.
It’s best not to eliminate naps completely unless you want a grouchy, angry child, but cutting down on the length of their naps will help them wake up earlier. Dropping one nap every week can help your child’s body get adjusted to getting less sleep during the day.
The amount of sleep your youngster gets will gradually decrease. However, keep in mind that a lack of sleep during the day may necessitate a later bedtime. If given the opportunity, they may be able to go to sleep earlier or stay in bed later in the morning. As a result, be ready to shift up bedtime or alter the morning routine.
Avoiding afternoon activities that could make your child drowsy can also assist you get your child to stop taking naps. Long automobile rides and periods of idleness are included in this category.
The best way to keep your child awake and stimulated is to keep him or her moving. It’s important to keep in mind that a large meal can make your toddler tired and sleepy. So eat lighter lunches that are higher in vegetables and fresh fruit instead.
Benefits of rest time at home and school
No matter how old your child becomes, they can still benefit from some downtime each day, even if they don’t need naps any longer.
It is important for your child’s physical and mental health to take a break during the school day. This is especially useful if your child attends a daycare or school where nap time is still an important part of the day.
Even if your child is not required to sleep, they may be expected to lie quietly in their crib so as not to disturb the other children in the nursery. Use quiet time in the home to benefit your child’s school or daycare by having him or her sit or lie down with a book, plush toy, or lovey.
The length of quiet time is entirely up to you and your child’s individual preferences. Just be aware that your child’s rest time will be set by the facility where they attend school or daycare, and you should expect them to follow those rules.
How Do You Transition Kids Away From Naps?
It may take some time to get off of napping. Children can choose whether to sleep or play quietly during quiet time rather than giving up naps completely. It is common for preschools and daycares to provide a period of quiet time for youngsters.
Quiet time, like nap time, should have a definite location and time associated with it. In order to help children fall asleep at night, they should be engaged in a stimulating activity while they’re awake. Choose activities that allow your youngster to concentrate, such as reading, puzzles, or coloring. Memory consolidation and recharging for the rest of the day can be aided by a period of rest, whether or not one is sleeping.
Avoid activities that cause drowsiness, such as driving or watching television, in place of a nap. For the sake of their child’s well-being, parents should refrain from engaging in any loud activities themselves. Noises that are too loud may lead a youngster to abandon their “calm area.”
How Does Sleep Change Without Naps?
It’s possible that when youngsters stop napping, they’ll need more sleep at night. Children who are no longer napping should have their bedtimes moved up an hour to ensure they get enough sleep. Due to the fact that preschool-aged children require a minimum of 13 hours of sleep every night, it is possible that your child’s bedtime may need to be shifted up to 6 or 6:30 p.m.
Regular bedtime routines are recommended by sleep experts to help youngsters fall asleep more easily. Snack, cleanliness such as cleaning teeth or bathing, and singing lullabies can all be part of the nighttime routine.
In the absence of a set naptime, youngsters may take an occasional nap. Changes in your child’s schedule, such as going back to school, can make him more groggy. As long as the nap time is well-structured and does not disrupt the child’s nocturnal sleep, the return to naps is usually not an issue.
As your child gets older, remember that quiet time is a crucial part of his or her life. Also, keep in mind that studies have indicated that adolescents who nap less often get less sleep at night and fewer hours of sleep overall.
Your child’s sleep habits should be evaluated by a pediatrician if you have any concerns about them, especially if they suddenly shift in a negative way.
How to Help Your Kids Stop Napping
It can be difficult to make the transition from one nap to the next. The adjustment from one nap to none is difficult for many people.
As a starting point, bear in mind that it will look different from one youngster to the next. There are some toddlers that don’t need naps at all, even from the beginning of their lives. Other toddlers may take a longer time to adapt to the new environment.
When Kids Sometimes Nap and Sometimes Don’t
Your toddler may go three days without an afternoon nap, but on day four, he may require one. Yes, for nearly a year, I believe my middle son did just this! When he was 3 years old, he would nap one day and not the next; it was an every other day occurrence. As time passed, he slept less and less frequently, until finally he was only taking a nap once every 10 days or so. The first time he was able to go without a nap was when he was about 4.5 years old.
When Kids Aren’t Tired
Use your toddler’s cues as a guide as you navigate through this adjustment. In the event that your toddler does not appear to be weary during naptime, do not attempt to force the issue. Instead, set aside an hour each day for’rest time,’ during which you can tuck your child into bed with a few books and tiny toys and let her play peacefully. With this, you can take a break, your child can play herself while you relax, and if she becomes weary, she has a peaceful and quiet place to sleep.
Adjusting Bedtime for When Kids Stop Napping
Also keep in mind that in the early stages of this nap shift, you may have to change your child’s bedtime. Remember that for newborns and toddlers, the amount of sleep they get tends to stay the same.
Most children need 11-13 hours of sleep each night when they are 3 years old, compared to 12-14 hours for children their age.
Consequently, if your toddler is no longer napping, he may require a later bedtime (and a later waking time) to make up for the lost daily sleep time. All of this is very normal. On the other hand, if your toddler is like my middle son, you may have to rouse him up from his nap on the days that he does take one.
When to see a doctor?
It’s possible to worry about an older child who still needs a nap or a child who’s avoiding napping but definitely needs some shut-eye in the afternoon.
Your pediatrician can provide reassurance when it comes to older children who are still napping, but it never hurts to check.
There are a variety of possible explanations for why an older child continues to snooze. Oversleeping or under-sleeping are two common causes of insomnia. It could also be because of:
- too much inactivity
- a sleep disorder
- a medical condition that causes fatigue
In any case, your doctor will collaborate with you and your kid to discover solutions.
Children who don’t like naps but still need them may have ideas from their doctor on how you might assist them get some shut-eye. Alternatively, you could hire a sleep expert, but their services can be too expensive and unrealistic for many families.
There are a variety of reasons why your child might not want to take a nap, including fear of missing out on something pleasant, exhaustion, or even nightmares. Here are a few suggestions to help you get your napping routine back on track:
- 15 to 30 minutes before nap time, create a peaceful atmosphere.
- Stay away from the child’s rest area if you can. It’s also a good idea to put up a peaceful activity for older children who are no longer napping. As a result, your younger child won’t be left out or feel left out.
- If they’re showing signs of tiredness, they’re probably ready to go to sleep. If they don’t take their nap in time, you might be waking them up too early. As an alternative, you may be putting your child down for the night too early, which can result in a fight.
- Change their bedtime routine as well. Your child’s waking time can be affected by the time they go to sleep at night. As a result, their sleep may suffer. Early risers may need to take a nap sooner than you think. It’s also possible that they’ll be extremely fatigued when it’s nap time if they don’t get enough sleep at night.
- Feed them a nutritious lunch that’s low in sugar if possible. Napping can be hindered if your youngster is hungry.
The Bottom Line
As children become older, sleeping tends to fade away on its own accord. Although every child is unique, the majority of children stop taking an afternoon sleep between the ages of three and five.
Look for symptoms that your child is no longer napping, such as not sleeping during naptime, difficulty going asleep at midnight, and an early rise. It’s possible that your toddler or preschooler is no longer taking naps. Please consult with your child’s healthcare professional if you have any doubts about your child’s need for naps or any other inquiries about naps or nocturnal sleep.
There is a good chance your youngster has outgrown napping if he continues to be energetic throughout the day even without one! This is a good time to reflect on how far you and your child have come since the arduous newborn stage.