Oh no – no more nap! While a lot of parents live in fear of removing their child’s nap, there are a lot of benefits to it. Not only are you not tied to your house in the middle of the day, but if bedtimes have become a battle for hours at a time and your child is 2.5-3.5 it can the answer you are looking for.
At this age children are on the cusp of no longer requiring a nap, when the nap impacts the nights or bedtime in a regular way it is time to make the transition. This transition is not linear and takes time to get right and for their body clock to adjust. We often hear so much about how sleep begets sleep and that naps are so important, however there is also evidence to show that one of the biggest reasons a toddler/preschool child has sleeping problems at bedtime and in the nights is due to the daytime nap continuing when they no longer require it.
When to give up your child’s nap
According to the National Sleep Foundation a 2.5-3.5 year-old typically needs 10-13 hours in a 24 hour period, if your child is at the lower end of these guidelines now is a good time to make the transition of giving up the daytime nap. Ironically, they may still seem very ready for their nap, It doesn’t mean that there will never be any naps again, but that we want to control it a bit better, so bedtime is at a sensible time and battle free.
How to remove your child’s nap:
Well, there’s no easy way but to just do it. Pick a day when you can provide additional support for a few days and jump right in. I won’t lie – this change will be hard on everyone for 5-10 days. Your child will be grumpy, sensitive and will need additional patience and support from you, she/he will easily fall asleep in the car in the afternoon, so you need to avoid car-rides initially, if you have some dedicated time.
You may want to introduce some calm quiet time in the middle of the day to replace the original nap time.
Expect to pull bedtime to 6:30 p.m. for the first few days, which will mean an earlier tea time too, you will be able to slowly move it closer to 7:00 p.m. again. However, this should be the latest for a long time. Remember, this change is a big one, and she/he won’t learn overnight how to settle to sleep quicker at bedtime or sleep longer at night, but it won’t take long.