Transitioning From Two Naps to One
One- to 3-year-olds slumber for 10 to 13 hours a day. Part of that sleep usually comes from a nap, or maybe even two. At around 18 months, most toddlers are ready to give up the morning nap and just snooze in the afternoon.
"But there's no reason to rush the process if your child still takes two naps a day," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., author of "Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep."
Toddlers who go to structured childcare typically nap once a day, she says, but if you feel your child still needs two naps at home, let him sleep; it won't disrupt the days that he only gets one nap.
Mindell suggests a few tips for weathering this two-naps-to-one transition:
- Organize your day around the afternoon nap. For example, you might have lunch at around 12 p.m. every day and put your child down at 12:30 p.m.
- Try to plan your toddler's nap so she doesn't sleep past about 4 p.m. That way, she'll still go to bed at a reasonable hour.
- Don't take away a nap to solve nighttime sleep problems. "If kids are overtired, it makes night sleep even worse," says Mindell.