Wondering what age to stop naps for your toddler? Here is my latest guide...

I hear it on online chats everywhere, "My pre-schooler has been a great sleeper, but now bedtime is getting out of control". The sympathy starts to pour in, along with some valid suggestions, but then the heart of the matter starts to come out...this little one is fighting bedtime and parents are at their wits end. Let's have some straight talk about what to look for if your child is nearing the end of his/her daily afternoon nap....

 

The most appropriate age to stop naps completely is from 2.5 - 3.5 years old.

 

It is not uncommon for me to hear from parents in this age range that bedtime has become a huge battlefront. Stalling, tantrums, poor behavior...if your child is continuing to nap in this age bracket, then your bedtime may need to adjust to a later time (be careful not to get later than 8:30 PM) in this age bracket. In this case, battles may be happening because your child is legitimately alert and not worn out yet. If your child's bedtime is already falling in the 8:00 hour and they are still fighting sleep, then there may be a need to slowly wean down nap time, or target some more complex behaviors related to sleep habits.

 

A child might continue to nap really well beyond this age, but be on the lookout for nighttime troubles!

 

If you notice that your child is struggling to go to bed (taking longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep) waking through the night, or naturally waking early before 7 AM, then that midday nap might be the culprit. It's time to face the music and get rid of the nap.

 

I find that parents and daycares can have a certain attachment to afternoon naps.

 

Look, I get it - I am a mom with two little ones and I understand that the personal break midday is something special, but I have to ask....is it really worth it if you find yourself spending hours trying to get your child to bed at night? Try shifting your mindset, you are on-duty all day, but when your child sleeps at night, it now has the potential to be an early bedtime and deep, restorative rest for your child. Your evenings are now prime time to get caught-up on your latest netflix binge or to-do-list item.

 

Still struggling? I would love to help! Schedule a starter sleep consultation below.

7 Comments

  1. Shayla Marie on November 2, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    My baby is already starting to skip naps. He has 5 older siblings so he doesn’t want to miss anything. Although it’s rough because I used to use the naptime to get things done, evenings have gotten better.

  2. Marysa on November 3, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Naps are such a tough thing, especially going from 2 to 1 and then none! I definitely noticed my second child dropping naps sooner because there was always just so much going on.

  3. Charissa on November 4, 2019 at 11:54 am

    Naptime transitions (and bedtime sleep transitions) are definitely tough for all! One thing I’ve learned from having three kids (with one more on the way) is that each kid’s sleep needs are unique. Mine have given up naps (and gone back to them) at different ages and when I tried to fight their natural schedule, we all paid!

    • Callie Hamilton on November 4, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      Yes, although there are always sleep guidelines, each child is unique and has their own individual needs.

  4. Flossie McCowald on November 4, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Oh if only I ever had this problem! My girls were NOT good sleepers (still aren’t – too much going on in their heads I guess!) and each dropped their final nap the summer they turned 2, despite room darkening curtains, noise machines, and everything else I could do to encourage this practice to continue!

  5. Hannah on November 25, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Oh wow, I had no idea you could stop midday naps this early. Everyone I know has been telling me to still let her nap until age 4. Shes almost three though, and fights bedtime like crazy! But often she will take an afternoon nap at 3 and be asleep till 5!

    • Callie Hamilton on November 25, 2019 at 9:48 pm

      A late nap can definitely cause bedtime to become a fight. Before you drop it, try cutting it down to 45 minutes and see how she does first. If you want bedtime to be earlier (7-8) then cutting the nap is the best option after 3 years old.

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