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April 17, 2023

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Your baby’s sleep needs play a big part in daily routines in the early years. And as growth spurts cause all kinds of changes in sleep patterns and it’s only natural to start asking yourself when toddlers will drop their naps.

During their first 12 months, babies usually transition from needing five to six naps a day to just needing two. As a fully-fledged toddler between 15-18 months of age, your child will usually transition from needing two naps to just one. And eventually, they transition to none.

So, how do you know when a toddler is ready to drop a nap or, stop napping altogether? What are the signs you should look for? And what do you do when your toddler refuses to nap? Let’s take a closer look.

How much sleep does a toddler need?

Toddler asleep on his mum's shoulder.

Toddlers are growing and developing rapidly. As a result, they need 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. This will usually consist of 10-12 hours of sleep at night, and one or two naps lasting 1-2 hours during the day. However, all children are different and so are their sleep needs.

What are the signs that your toddler is ready to drop a nap?

Toddler standing in cot looking at camera.

Here are four signs your toddler may be ready to drop a nap:

  1. They don’t seem tired or are taking too long to fall asleep at naptime – This is a classic sign that your toddler may be ready to drop a nap, particularly if are in a good mood and are not grumpy or cranky.
  2. They don’t seem tired or are taking too long to fall asleep at bedtime – This sign often goes together with the previous one. You may find that your toddler starts resisting their usual afternoon nap but may fall asleep later in the afternoon. This means that instead of waking up at 3 pm, they are waking up at 4 pm or later. This causes problems at bedtime because they aren’t tired.
  3. Skipping naps – You may find that your toddler sometimes skips a nap altogether, remains happy and energetic but is ready for sleep at bedtime. This is a good sign that they are ready to drop a nap.
  4. Early morning wake-ups – Some children nap beautifully during the day, yet over a two- or three-week period, they begin to wake earlier and earlier in the morning. If your child is waking up with the birds, it may be time to drop a nap.

What do I do if my toddler won’t have a nap?

Toddler sits on window ledge with his hands over this eyes.

You can’t force a child to sleep but you can create the right environment. If your toddler won’t have a daytime nap, give them an hour of quiet time resting in their room. If they refuse to rest, encourage them to do a quiet activity, such as looking at picture books, doing puzzles, colouring, or playing by themselves.

Try to avoid television or offering electronic devices, such as phones and tablets. These devices emit blue light that interferes with sleep.

When should toddlers stop napping completely?

Two toddler girls dancing in a living room.

Children drop their daytime naps at different ages. About a quarter of children stop napping by three years of age. Another half stop between three and four years of age, around the time they move out of the cot and into their first bed.

Most children have stopped napping by five years of age, while some children may go for days without a nap and then suddenly need one. If a child still needs a regular daytime nap after the age of five years, this could be a sign that they are not getting enough quality sleep at night.

The takeaway

Smiling toddler jumps on a bed.

Nap times are a good recharge for both you and your child, but eventually, the time will come when your child will no longer need them. While this transition can sometimes be rougher on you than on them, remember it is a sign of your child’s healthy growth and milestone development.

The Mama Coach Leanne Vidler

Leanne Vidler has been a Registered Nurse for 35 years, with her experience ranging from acute care in paediatric and paediatric intensive care (in Australia, Saudi Arabia, and the UK); infection prevention and control; education; immunisation; aged care; quality assurance; research; policy; and national guideline development. She now provides support and education to parents and families, helping them navigate and enjoy the crazy and precious early years of parenthood, as The Mama Coach.


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  • Lol my husband and my self still like a nap ;)
    And my 10yr old has a nap in the weekend !

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  • My first child dropped their nap at 19 months. It seemed wayyyyy to early.

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  • All kids are different. Some love their sleep more than others.

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  • My son was 2. We held off as long as we can as I was working on a project and my Mum was looking after him some days. It helped her. And gee, you really miss those nap times but it allows you more freedom in your day.

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  • My little man has 1 midday nap, but gets woken at 2pm cos if he sleeps longer he won’t go to bed that night until so late and it just ruins the next week of sleep.

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  • My three year old sometimes naps for 5hrs still, and my five year occasionally has a short nap depending. Who cares let them sleep and nap when they need to, try not force it all. It will really stuff them up for the future. Our sleep needs vary on day activity what the night was like. Everyone needs to stop freaking out about kids sleep. I cringe so much when mums complain about a late afternoon nap for their kid. Like let the poor bugger sleep they tired

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  • Hopefully never!

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  • Not there yet!

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  • Every child is different and it important to judge your child as to when you think it’s the right time. Great to have a articles about sleep but in the end it needs to fit with your child.

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  • Great info. My youngest has dropped his nap from 3yrs, but does tend to fall asleep sometimes in the car around 4 if I’m driving.

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  • If you have your kids in a good routine, you can have them taking an afternoon nap right up until starting school. It’s actually good for them. As they start school with only 3 days a week, they can nap on their days off. I have an almost 8yr old and a 10 year old and both still love a nap on Saturdays (and so do I!)

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  • My kids are both so different! My 4.5 year old only dropped her nap about 5 months ago. My 2.5 year old is almost ready to drop his nap but I really enjoy the 2 hours of quiet to do housework or spend with my eldest! :p

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  • Great information in this post.

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  • I was very sad when my kids dropped their naps – I really valued that short period of peace!

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  • I think it just depends on the child and their routine. Some need the nap time more than others.

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  • My 3 y/o is transitioning out of her day naps.
    It’s great because she is so engaged, but occasionally does still need the nap and refuses. We try to get her to settle but she has decided that she will run around like a sheep dog until she hits the hay!

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  • My daughter is transitioning now!

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  • I’m dreading when naps stop – its my one break during the day

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  • So sad when my little boy transitioned out of naps. I always looked forward to a bit of a break and now I need to try and teach him to have some independent quiet time for my sanity.

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  • My youngest is eighteen months – the same age my eldest dropped his naps. Hopefully this one won’t for a while yet!

    Reply

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