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When do toddlers stop napping?

Sleeping is more than important for your little one. Whilst your toddler develops, they need enough sleep to ensure their body is well rested and ready for another day of running, climbing and most commonly – causing mischief. Whilst they are in their development stages, your toddler will nap. Not only does this put them in a better mood, it also means you get a break for an hour or so! But when do toddler stop napping?

The main purpose of napping is so your toddler can recharge themselves. You will notice over time that the amount of naps they take per day will decrease or their naps will get shorter. This is a sign that your toddler is weaning themselves off of naps. Some parents may feel a little resistant to this as they know napping can put their toddler in a better mood. However, shorter or less naps throughout the day should be something that you celebrate.

It means that your little toddler is now growing into a big kid. Plus, whilst you won’t get many breaks throughout the day, it will mean that they will sleep better and longer during the night – meaning you might finally get a bit of a lay in (we’re not sure if 8am counts)!

There are signs that your little one will show when they are ready to stop having as many naps. We will tell you what you need to look out for and well as how you can make this transition much easier for them.

When do toddlers stop napping?

So, when do toddlers stop napping and only sleep at night?

Like a lot of things, there isn’t a specific age or time when your toddler will decide they no longer want to nap. Each child is different, and it just depends on when yours feel ready. 

There are multiple factors that can affect when a child will stop napping. From their energy level to how much sleep they get during the night, these can all have an effect on the age your child will stop napping completely. It is estimated that around 50% of children will still take naps at the age of 4. This drops to around 30% by the age of 5.

Around this age, a child needs about 12 hours of sleep a day. That may sound like a lot but toddlers burn off their energy very quickly. If your child isn’t getting this throughout the night, they are more likely to continue napping. If you find your child is getting older and they are still napping, you may want to change to an earlier bedtime to see if that makes a change.

When do toddlers stop napping?

What are the signs that my toddler or baby is ready to stop napping?

The most common sign to look for is if your toddler starts kicking up a fuss over having a nap. This is telling you that they don’t want or need to sleep at that moment. If this turns into a consistent thing, it’s a sign that they just don’t want to do it anymore. 

However, although it’s a great sign that your child no longer wants to nap, they may sometimes still need it. Even if they resist this, it’s best to try and get them down for a nap as it can recharge them and make them feel much better. Your child may need a nap if:

  • You notice a change in your child’s attitude – if you notice that your toddler is becoming irritable and a bit mean, it may be a sign that they need a nap. A lack of sleep can trigger their emotional responses and can be the cause of tantrums.
  • They look sleepy – Even if they won’t properly settle down, you can know if your child needs a nap just by how they look. If they are yawning, rubbing their eyes and lounging around more, you should try and encourage a nap.

If you don’t notice any of these signs when your child stops napping, it means they really are on the road to no longer having naps. Once they can skip a nap without any fuss, it usually means that stage is over.

When do toddlers stop napping?

Can I stop napping gradually?

Yes, if anything, this is a better way to wean your child off of naps instead of doing it all in one go. If you child has three naps a day, you can work to try and get that down to two. Whilst it may be a little difficult at first, over time your child will get used to being awake more in the day. Once they have gotten used to one less nap, you can start focusing on dropping the next one.

However, it’s important to remember that because your child is getting less sleep in the day, they will need this at night instead. This is a good time to bring in bedtimes and change the time they go to bed. If you have been putting them to bed at 8pm, you can try 7pm to help them get the extra hour they missed from their dropped nap.

If you’re struggling on dropping your child first nap, you can do things to try and keep them stimulated. Don’t focus on activities that may make your child feel drowsy. Do something more upbeat and something they will have to properly focus on so that they won’t think about being tired. This includes going out on walks where they are constantly moving around or doing something like going to the park – the fresh air will help them stay awake. 

Another thing that can make your toddler tired is big and heavy lunches. Digesting a lot of food will take a toll on their body and can make them incredibly tired. Instead, focus on lunches that are light and nutritious. This can include plenty of vegetables and fruit.

Encourage rest time for your toddler

It’s important for everyone to have a little bit of downtime each day. Your toddler is no exception. Once they start nursery or school, it can take a massive toll on their body/ Although they may not need a nap, it’s important to try and encourage them just to chill out for a little while.

This may involve laying in their cot/bed for a little while or helping them read some stories to chill them out.

When do toddlers stop napping?

What if my child won’t stop napping?

If your child is over 5 years old and is still taking regular naps, there’s nothing to be worried about. This is very normal but doesn’t hurt to go and speak to a pediatrician to make sure your child is developing how they should be. It may be as simple as going to bed too late or getting up too early in the morning. However, there are other things that might not be so obvious to the eye that can cause your child to nap more. These can include:

  • Your child’s diet. If they are eating too much or too little, this can have an impact on their energy levels. As well as this, it’s important to find out inf your child is receiving all the nutrients they should be getting daily.
  • Not enough running around. When your child is younger, they should be unstoppable. If your child isn’t getting up and moving around enough, this can also cause them to want to sleep more.
  • Sleep disorders. This is one of the reasons why going to a paediatrician may be beneficial to you. They will be able to identify if your child has a problem. 

Your doctor will also be able to provide you with different ways that you can wean your child off of naps. Alternatively, your child may be resisting naps when they actually do need them. If you find that this is the case, here are a few tips:

  • Chill your child out before nap time. This will prepare their body to sleep.
  • Avoid any loud noises or loud talking in your child’s rest area.
  • Adjust their bedtime if needed. If you find they are waking up incredibly early, it may be worth trying to put them down slightly later.
  • Avoid too much sugar. A healthy, balanced diet can have a big impact on if your child will be able to nap or not.

We know that saying goodbye to naps can be sad, but it’s a sign that your little one is finally getting older.

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