What are the signs my child might be close to dropping this last nap?
There are two main scenarios which will occur if your child is getting close to dropping their nap.
The first scenario is when the nap is starting to impact bedtime, and your child will take a long time to fall asleep for the night (our definition of ‘long’, is anything more than about 30-40 minutes). You might think your child is ready to drop their day nap if they are taking a long time to fall asleep at night, instead when this starts to happen, it’s about finding that sweet spot of shortening the nap or having it finished by a set time, so that the onset of sleep at night is not too long.
If your child is falling asleep relatively quickly for their nap, the other tweak you can make is to move the nap slightly earlier, so that their awake time from the end of their nap to their bedtime is slightly longer. For example, if your child currently naps from say 1.30-3pm, bring the start time earlier, and cap the nap, to have them napping approximately 12.30-2pm (you may need to play around a bit with timings to get the right balance for your child).
The second scenario which can occur when your child might be done with napping every day, is when they start playing through nap time and not sleeping at all. This can often be the easier of the two scenarios to deal with, as your child is giving you a much clearer sign that they don’t need their nap every day.
Shall I still offer the nap some days?
Absolutely!! When either of the above scenarios start to occur, remember it doesn’t mean your child is ready to drop their nap completely. Given it is such a big transition, it’s likely they’ll require a nap every second or third day - and even if they don’t nap, we recommend ‘quiet time’ be offered each day for a minimum of 45 minutes in their room. This way you are providing your child the opportunity to sleep, but if they don’t, then at least they have had some ‘down time’ to relax and recharge their little bodies and minds.
Also remember, that on days they don’t nap, it’s key to bring bedtime earlier to compensate for the dropped nap, and to ensure they don’t get too overtired.
Lastly, be patient. A nap transition doesn’t happen overnight. Be prepared for a few weeks experiencing some frustration, crankiness, overtiredness, and perhaps the odd night waking or early morning waking. But stay the course and keep consistent with your approach, and it will all come together in time.
If you’re currently experiencing this transition with your child and would like some specific help for your situation, a Quick Query Package is a perfect place to start! Choose from either a 30min phone chat or a Day of Emailing ($39). See more details here.