Making the Transition away from Toddler Naptime

The fact of the matter is that most children, by the time they hit the age of five years old, have given up their naps. More than half of children will give up naptime by age four. Of course, each child is different, and each child will make that transition away from toddler naptime at her own pace. Watching out for the signs that your little one is ready to make the transition away from toddler naptime is key to making it a smooth process.

Some children will make the transition away from toddler naptime almost instantly. They’ll quit cold turkey. Other children need a longer adjustment period. After a few days of not having a nap, some toddlers will start to build up some serious crankiness and fussiness. The key is watching out to see whether the transition away from toddler naptime is to blame or whether it’s just because your child is out of his routine. Being able to tell whether your child truly isn’t tired or whether he’s just being fussy or is uncomfortable can be challenging. (And, of course, if you ask him, chances are pretty good he’ll almost always deny being tired in the first place.)

For some children, the transition away from toddler naptime can take quite a while. It can go on for as long as six months. You might have to struggle with your child to convince her to slow down and take a nap time each day.

One technique that parents often use during this time of change is to set aside “turtle time” right after lunch. During that time, your child’s body temperature is likely to dip, and he’ll find it easier to fall asleep. Have your child relax during that time. Dim the lights, close the shades and turn off your television. Read to him for a few minutes, or scratch his back. If your child hasn’t fallen asleep after about 45 minutes or so, let him get back up. During that transition period you might consider putting him to bed earlier on nights where he misses his nap, as well.