Trying to figure out whether your toddler is ready to give up napping can be a challenge. If you ask him, he’ll probably tell you he never wants to sleep. Of course, two minutes after making such a declaration, your baby will probably lull himself off to dreamland. That’s why it’s important to learn to watch for certain signs that your toddler is ready to give up napping.
It’s important, first of all, to understand a little bit about childhood napping. Most babies will transition down to about two naps a day within their first year. Then again sometime between the ages of 12 and 18 months, babies will usually shift down to a single nap each day. By the age of two, four out of five children still take one nap a day. At the age of three years, about three out of five are taking naps. Only 25 percent of four year-olds nap. By the time they hit the age of five years old, approximately 10 percent still nap daily. As you can see, napping is highly individualized and there is no real “correct” age that your baby should stop napping.
Here are some of the specific signs that parents should be watching for that can indicate that she’s ready to give up that naptime:
- She wakes up on her own each morning, and is in a good mood
- He falls asleep and stays asleep at night
- She sleeps approximately 11 to 12 hours each night
- His behavior is consistent throughout the day, whether or not it’s naptime
- She resists being put down for a nap, even more so than behaviors that made you think that she needed to have a nap in the first place.
If you’re concerned about your child’s sleep habits, bring it up with his doctor. Your pediatrician may have some ideas about how to improve your child’s sleep habits, and to help you figure out whether or not your little one is ready to give up that daily naptime ritual.