How to Successfully Transition from Two Naps to One

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Is your toddler struggling with nap transitions? Check out this expert advice on how to successfully transition from two naps to one.

The past month has been an interesting one to say the least.

G is in the process of transitioning from two naps to one.

He’s always been a fairly good napper, and going from three naps to two was pretty seamless. So, I made the mistake of thinking that he would transition easily from two to one.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I sought out advice from friends, paged through my go-to sleep book, nothing seemed to be working. All resulted in a cranky, overtired toddler.

Thank goodness for this advice from Kids in the House!  If you’re in the same boat, you need to check this out!

For more information on toddlers visit KidsInTheHouse.com

Toddlers transition from 2 naps 1 nap between 15 and 18 months. And a lot of times parents will do it too early in hopes of improving night sleep. So I don’t want you to do that, okay. And actually I don’t want you to transition them to one nap until they’re sleeping through the night, because you’re going to further sleep deprive them, which will make their night fall apart. So let’s say your toddler is sleeping through the night, but you’re thinking they’re ready to transition to 1 nap. So they usually lose the morning nap. And they keep the afternoon nap. So what you’ll often see is either you put them down for their morning nap and they don’t go to sleep – they play and jump around like a free-for-all in their crib for an hour. Either that’s happening. Or they’re in there and they don’t fall asleep until 10, 10:30, and they want to sleep until 1:00 in the afternoon. You have to see these signs consistently, meaning not 1-2 times every here and there, but several times over the course of at least 2-3 weeks, where you say wow! I think my toddler’s ready to go to 1 nap. Particularly also if they take one nap, and then they don’t want an afternoon nap until dinner time. That will be another sign. So what you’d start to do is start to move that morning nap later and later and later until you’re in the afternoon, at least 12 noon. And then eventually it will go to 1. So you don’t want to wait too long. You want to do this in about a week. So you go maybe it’s about 9:30. And if you can make a big leap to 10:30, and then 11:00, 11:30, 12:00 until finally the afternoon nap is all the way into the afternoon. And try to avoid being in the car in the morning during that time where they might have a little disaster nap and then it will throw off the afternoon. I know this is hard. We’re only talking about a week where you’re sort of tied to the house. And entertain them and distract them until they can make it to the afternoon nap. Please don’t get stuck with napping from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. because I see this happen over and over and that is about 6 weeks of that, your toddler will start to wake up in the middle of the night, because they’re awake too long from the afternoon nap to bedtime. So don’t get stuck there. Keep pushing it until after 12 noon.

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