How to Drop to One Nap a Day

nap dropping

IS YOUR LITTLE ONE READY?

Before you jump to dropping to one nap a day, it's first important to make sure your little one is REALLY ready to drop that nap. Check out the Healthy Little Note from Dec 26, 2017 to help you figure that out!

Once your little one is definitely ready... Let's take a look a what might be going on and how to make it happen.

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WHAT DOES YOUR NAP LOOK LIKE?

There are two different ways your nap dropping might be presenting itself.

  • Your little one might still be taking a morning nap and skipping the afternoon nap (that’s what my littles both did).  OR
  • Your little one might be skipping the morning nap and still taking the afternoon nap. This is more natural. When you drop down to 1 nap a day, you keep the afternoon nap. So, if this is your case it will be a little easier as you are already on your way.

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LET'S DROP THAT NAP...

If your little one is taking the morning nap, you want to start keeping her up in the morning and getting her as close to 12:30 as possible. This adjustment can take some time, but really be consistent with it.

Our bodies take time to adjust to new schedules. If you go back and forth - sometimes offering a morning nap and sometimes not - not only are you sending a mixed message, but you are not giving your little one the opportunity to practice this new skill of staying up longer in the morning. Practice. Practice. Practice.

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Try thiS... 

On the first 3 days of dropping the nap, put your little one down at 11:30am. Then, the next 3 days, push to 11:45, then 12:00, then 12:15, then 12:30. After this two-week adjustment, really stick to this time, so your little one can become accustomed to staying up longer in the morning time. 

If your little one seems more sensitive to changes, then go ahead and do this even more gradually. Stick with one time, say 11:30am, for the first week. Then the next week push to 11:45am, and so on. Just keep track and be consistent with moving the time forward. They key is to be consistent and give them that practice!  

There is no need to rush this transition… Did you know that WHEN (on the clock) your little one takes a nap is often more important than the number of hours they get? So keep stretching to the most optimal time for the nap that aligns with their natural sleep rhythms. They’ll get there!

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BUT WAIT...

You might be thinking, "But my little one can barely make it and keeps passing out on our way home!"

When you first start this transition, provide some more quieter activities to play at home right before the nap (or perhaps lunch), and more active when first getting up for the day. Be careful not to go on stroller walks or a car ride in these late mornings, cause your little will be sure to fall asleep in the car or stroller on the way home (as seen above). This will only backfire and take the edge off of being tired, and then skip the real nap altogether. 

Let’s first get the one nap down, and then make car or stroller nap an exception every once in a while. If a short car or stroller nap does happen by accident (we’re only human) … early to bed!

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Oh, and one more thing...

For this one nap a day to be truly restorative, you really want to see your little’s nap extend to 2 hours… and no longer than 3 hours. We don’t want to disrupt nighttime sleep!

There actually is a thing of too much daytime sleep.

Have more questions about your little dropping to one nap? Or a completely different question? Ask away

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 Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Infant + Toddler Sleep Specialist through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!

Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Infant + Toddler Sleep Specialist through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!