In this article we’ll discuss when Toddlers are ready to drop their naps, looking at the average age for most children and the common signs, we’ll also look into the crucial area of managing overtiredness during transitional periods.
How long should a toddler nap, how much daytime sleep & night sleep do they need?
Toddlers 2-5 need around 11-14 hours sleep every 24 hours.
In my Dr Golly Sleep Routines I recommend 12 hours Nighttime sleep /overnight sleep and depending on their age 0-2 hours during the day.
This is quite variable with each child but use the below times as a general guide. Signs that your child is ready to have less day sleep include: taking longer to fall asleep at nap time and/or bedtime,
- 2 years: approx 1.5 – 2 hours
- 2.5 years: approx 40-60 minutes
- 3-4 years: most children will drop the nap
Protesting sleep is common for toddlers
As a toddler’s sense of autonomy grows so too does their ability to protest – the 2 most common themes are sleep and food.
And just because they are protesting does not mean they are not hungry or tired!
So how to tell if a toddler is ready to drop their nap?
Some signs your child will show that they are ready to drop their nap include:
- protesting at naptime and/or bedtime (but see above it’s not the only sign to look for)
- taking a long time to Fall asleep at night +3
- Won’t fall asleep easily
- early morning waking and
- more frequent overnight waking.
- Aligned will the generally timelines for most children their age
When do toddlers drop to one nap?
Most babies are ready to drop to 1 nap between 15-18 months
They are very rarely ready to drop to 1 nap at 12 months. If your toddler is fighting their naps around 12 months, this can be developmentally normal. Persist with Dr Golly Sleep Routine; both naps should return reliably after a week or two.
At what age do toddlers stop napping – when do they drop their Daytime nap altogether?
When it comes to the question of when do toddlers stop napping….the age of transition is highly variable.
Dropping the lunch/ Afternoon nap is probably the hardest of all the nap transitions! (no pressure)
Most Kids stop napping between 3-4 years old, some earlier.
Understanding when your child Ready to stop napping is really nuanced – are they protesting for protesting sake or genuinely protesting? Are they having difficulty falling asleep because they don’t have enough sleep debt or are they just being difficult?
You as parents will be the best at knowing this.
Managing overtiredness with toddlers
Overtirdeness in toddler and pre-schoolers 2-5 years old is really common, particularly when they first start to drop their day nap.
Replacing nap time with quiet time during the transitional phase of dropping daytime naps is a really good idea, setting up a quiet reading corner can work really well.
As you transition from 1 nap to no naps it doesn’t have to be all or nothing you can skip naps for a few days and then offer a nap when needed. If skipping naps for a couple of days doesn’t solve the sleep protest/difficulty falling asleep you’ll probably get the answer that your child isn’t quite ready yet.
On daycare and kinder days overtiredness in the evenings can be absolutely apparent – on these nights I always recommend moving bedtime forward.
A consistent bedtime routine will always be beneficial.
Other common toddler sleep problems are Nightmares and night terrors
See Blog my blog on this topic here: