When my son Clark was 12 months old he was still having two naps a day: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. He also slept 12 hours at night. He definitely liked to sleep. But just one month later after he turned 13 months old, we started to see a change. His morning nap was starting to shift. We could no longer predict what time he wanted to go to sleep. And then he would nap for less than one hour. I waited it out to see if it was a phase. It wasn’t. We knew that it was time to start transitioning to one nap.
Nap Transitions are Tough
I’ll admit that it was sad to see his daytime schedule change so much. He had been on the same two-nap-per-day schedule since he was 5 months old and we had grown accustomed to planning our day accordingly. It was also a sign that he was growing up – no longer a baby, but a high-energy toddler. He had no fear – barreling headfirst down the slide; he was working hard on table manners at that time – frequently wielding his food when he didn’t like it, and he was also enthusiastically quacking at anything that remotely resembled a duck.
The transition was tougher on me than it was on him, but I was careful to take a gradual approach. I watch his napping patterns for a couple of weeks to make sure that the regression wasn’t due to developmental milestones or other changes. And once we made the switch to one nap, we were consistent about only have one nap a day to help him adjust.
How do you know it’s time to make the transition to one nap?
Look for these signs to determine if it’s the right time to make the transition to one nap:
- your child doesn’t seem tired enough when you put him or her down for their first nap, and then they stay awake for a long time playing in their crib before falling asleep;
- cries for 30 minutes or more before nap time; and/or
- experiences consistently shorter naps.