Toddler naps | What to expect

As they grow, toddlers don’t need as much sleep as they used to. Here’s what to expect…

By the time your baby is a year, you’ve probably settled him into a predictable rhythm of daytime naps and regular bedtimes. “The age-appropriate sleep for this age is two periods of sleep during the day, and around 12 hours at night,” says Author of Baby Sense and co-author of Sleep Sense, Meg Faure.

At about a year, you may find that your little one starts to fight going to sleep at either of the day sleeps or at bedtime. Faure says this is an indication that his sleep requirements are changing, and that it’s time to reduce his day sleeps.

Here’s what to expect in terms of toddler naps:

  • Your toddler should sleep for a stretch of 11 to 12 hours a night. “Occasional nights of disruption are normal at this stage,” says Faure and Ann Richardson in their book Sleep Sense.
  • Your little one should be tucked in for the night between 6 and 7pm. He will most likely wake-up for the day between 5am and 7am.
  • Your little one should still have a daytime nap for a stretch of one to three hours during this stage.
  • The age at which your toddler drops his daytime nap is very individual. Some kids nap until they’re five, while others can happily do without a nap from 2 ½ years old.
  • Your little one won’t drop his daytime sleep altogether at first. He may nap three days out of seven, and then two or one.
  • If your toddler (from 3 years old) resists her midday nap, but is struggling to make it through the afternoon, move her bedtime an hour earlier on the days she doesn’t have a nap.
  • On days that your little one doesn’t have a nap at all, try to institute 30 minutes of quiet time when he can lie or sit quietly and play to refuel for the afternoon.
  • Look out for signals that indicate over-stimulation. These include becoming clingy and irritable, refusing to eat or co-operate and biting and pushing other children.

Click here for tips on reducing your little one’s nap times.

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