Managing Your Tot's Naps
If I were to design an insignia of the early years, it would be a picture of a precious two-year-old innocently napping. Once the preschool years arrive, your child’s pattern will change . . . indeed her life will change. She’ll cross the threshold—leaving the house and entering the world—never to return to the land of naps until she has her own baby (or reaches old age).
When exactly does this momentous transition occur? The timing is different for every child, but this chart offers clue. Your little one will reach this passage into childhood in a series of steps. The older she gets, the fewer naps she’ll take. But, between six and twenty-four months things can be pretty crazy! Some of these kids are still sleeping like babies while others already nap like preschoolers. However, if we look at the averages, we can at least make some good guesses. So here’s what you can expect . . . more or less:
By six to twelve months, your darling will have shifted down to just two naps a day. Typically, the naps last one hour—two hours, max—but some kids are catnappers who pop back up to play after just thirty minutes. Most parents find that the two-nap schedule makes keeping to a regular schedule—the timing and duration of the naps—much easier.
By twelve to twenty-four months, napping will be reduced to just one a day. As your child moves into the toddler years, you will be deeply grateful for her naps. Tots are such buzzing, bouncing bundles of energy that this hour or two of midday calm is critical for helping their parents and caregivers recover from the morning and prepare for the afternoon. You’ll find that white noise and loveys continue to be invaluable aids in keeping naptime regular and successful, even when you’re on a trip.
And what should you expect if your sweetie is in day care? That depends! Some kids have trouble napping because of the distractions and come home exhausted. Others doze right off because they mimic all the other kids napping. Still others nap fine at school, but skip naps on the weekends because of all the activity going on at home. If your tot has trouble napping at school, use her white noise and cuddly lovey there, too.