You’re visiting the Birmingham branch of Little Dreams. Click here to view the main site.

How to Transition from Two Naps to One.

How to transition from two to one nap

Share This Post

Understanding the Nap Transition

Parents often find themselves assisting their little ones to transition from two naps to one nap during the day. This significant change typically occurs between the ages of 12 to 14 months. However, it’s important to recognise the tell tale signs that indicate your child is ready for this change.

Recognising the Signs

The signs that your child might be ready to transition from two naps to one can include difficulties settling for or refusing the second nap, bedtime struggles, or even night time awakenings. These signs suggest that your child is getting too much daytime sleep and is prepared for the transition to a single daytime nap.

A Common Misconception

It’s a common misconception that parents should reduce the duration of the first nap with the intention of making the second nap (usually taken around lunchtime) the primary one when transitioning to a single nap. However, we recommend a different approach.

The Transition Strategy

For a baby on a one-nap schedule, the ideal nap time would be around midday (although a 1 pm naptime is more common around the age of 2). To achieve this, you should gradually push back the timing of their first nap by 15 minutes every 2-3 days until it aligns with this midday schedule. During this transition, the second nap can become a shorter “cat nap” taken on the go, lasting around 20-30 minutes in a pram or car, until it eventually becomes unnecessary (typically when your child starts napping around 11 a.m.).

Adjusting Bedtime

Once your child is settled into this one-nap routine, consider moving bedtime earlier to ensure they aren’t overtired by the evening; a bedtime of 6 p.m. is the earliest we would suggest.

Prioritising the First Nap

This transition process prioritises the first nap of the day because it’s often the easiest to achieve. Your child still has some residual sleep pressure from the previous night, and they haven’t been as stimulated as they will be later in the day, making it easier for them to fall asleep. By focusing on preserving the quality of this first nap, you can avoid the risk of having two short naps, which could leave your baby cranky by bedtime.

Essential Tips for a Smooth Transition

Here are some essential tips to help you navigate the transition from two naps to one and overcome potential challenges:

  1. It can take up to a month for your child to fully adjust to a single nap, and they may seem tired at their usual nap time initially. Patience is key.
  • Combat morning grumpiness by taking your child outside or offering a small snack (natural sugars in fruit can help during this transition period).
  • Avoid pushing the naptime too late, as this could result in your child getting a “second wind” and being more challenging to put down later.
  • Don’t miss the ideal window for your child’s nap time, as they may become overtired, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep. Gradual adjustments are key.
  • Adjust bedtime earlier to accommodate the absence of the second nap during the day, even moving it up by up to 30 minutes or an hour if necessary, particularly if your child is struggling.

As always, if you encounter any sleep-related issues with your child, please feel free to reach out to us for a free 15-minute consultation. We’re here to assist and provide guidance in ensuring your child’s restful sleep.

You may also like

Mum holding baby while feeling guilty sleep teaching

Sleep Teaching Without Guilt.

As a sleep consultant, I encounter parents who feel guilty about teaching their little ones to sleep. However, contrary to popular belief, sleep training is

Read More »
Power of bedtime routine

The Power of Bedtime Routines

As a sleep consultant, I often find myself fielding questions from weary parents about the importance of bedtime routines. It’s a topic that holds significant

Read More »