How To Survive The Dreaded Transition From 2 Naps To 1 With Ease
By Expert Contributor Katie Kovaleski
The 2-1-nap transition can be a dreaded time but it doesn’t have to be. Today’s talk is about how to decide when to make this transition and I’ll give you tips on how to make the process as smooth as possible.
When Is It Time To Transition?
This transition typically occurs on average between 15-18 months. This can occur earlier for some children but it’s rare and it can also occur later for other children. If you think the transition is happening at too young of an age, take a look at your child’s entire schedule and see if any tweaks can be made to keep them on a two nap a day schedule for as long as possible. If your child is not sleeping through the night consistently and has frequently occurring night wakings, they are not ready to be transitioned.
How To Make The Transition
When you notice your child has been consistently fighting one or both of their naps for at minimum a week or two you can begin by capping their morning nap. Calculate the length of their average nap and begin capping it by 15 minutes every 2-3 days until you’ve capped it to one hour.
Maintain that schedule until they begin fighting one of the naps again and then begin the one nap transition. They will need to start this one- nap-a-day on the earlier end of the spectrum, some days as early as 11am. BUT you do not want to stay at that 11am start time for too long, that early start time ends up causing early wake ups and night wakings. We need that start time to move closer and closer to 12pm.
You can achieve this by moving the start time in 15 increments every 2-3 days until you have reached 12pm. If they seem exhausted, hold steady at 11:30 for a few more days until they adjust, it’s important to move forward but also not too push too hard.
Once you hit 12pm let their nap start there for a few weeks and slowly, over time, you can begin pushing it again until you reach 1pm. And of course, early bedtime! That bedtime will fall earlier once you make the transition, be prepared and react accordingly. Bedtime will fall about 3.5-4.5 hours after the end of the nap. When they are just starting their nap at 11 this can mean a very early bedtime while they are adjusting.
I Started The Transition And Now My Child Is Exhausted
The best way to avoid this scenario is by never starting the transition cold turkey, follow the nap capping steps above to ease them into it and make sure they are ready by transitioning them when they have been consistently fighting their naps- not because you want it to be time.
A second great tip is to continue occasionally offering two naps days. You can do this right when you start the transition if you see that they appear over tired or are having other sleep issues. Offer two naps a day a few times a week when you first start to ensure they are getting the rest that they need. Begin cutting down on the two nap offerings slowly and they will successfully settle into that one nap a day transition in no time!