4 signs that your child is ready to give up the daytime nap

Most kids are ready to give up the daytime nap by the age of three. But, as with all developmental milestones, some are ready sooner, and others later. Here’s how to tell if you’ll be kissing naptime goodbye. By Lisa Witepski


You love naptime. Of course you do – it’s your hour (or, if you’re lucky, three) to yourself. At some stage though, it’s going to come to an end. These are the gins that this time is near.

ALSO SEE: Toddler naps – what to expect

Fighting the nap

If your little one puts up a fuss when you try to put her down, she might not be acting out – she might genuinely feel that she is ready to continue with her day. Sometimes, she’ll even vocalise this and, while we’re certainly not suggesting that every two-year-old knows what’s best for her, in this case she might be right. Of course, it might be that she can keep on trucking one day, and be totally unplayable by noon the next, so keep monitoring. You may have to phase out the naps slowly, putting her down every other day and letting her stay awake for the others.

Battling at bedtime

If you think about it, a child’s day is pretty exhausting. Even when their little bodies aren’t going at light speed, their brains are. So it stands to reason that it shouldn’t take long for them to fall asleep after lights out. If it does, it may well be because they have already taken care of their need for sleep with their early nap. If that’s the case, brace yourself: you’re probably in for a rough time. Expect lots of false alarms: if she’s not calling you because she “needs” the loo, it will be because she desperately has to have a snack. Either way, while she’s lying in bed, sleepless, her actual bedtime will be pushed later and later – so it might be better to give her some quiet time, reading together for instance, instead of putting her down during the day.

ALSO SEE: 10 ways toddlers avoid going to bed

Remaining in good cheer               

Tears are one of the most reliable signs that it’s time for a nap – so, if your little one keeps up her good humour and has plenty of energy throughout the day, it’s probably fair to say that she’s not getting too tired. Remember, though, that as a toddler she’s still prone to meltdowns, so don’t base your assessment entirely on her mood; it’s simply a yardstick.

Sleeping well throughout the night

When your little one was still a small baby, you knew that poor naptimes heralded a difficult night ahead. There’s truth in that old saying: “sleep makes sleep”. So, if your child is sleeping without interruption throughout the night, and not waking up any earlier than usual, it’s probably because she no longer needs that daytime sleep boost.

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