Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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The Toddler 2-1 Nap Transition

Sometime around 14-18 months, your toddler will be ready to drop down from 2-1 nap which we call as 2-1 nap transition.

Signs of Being Ready to Transition Down to 1 Nap:

1. Not sleeping for the morning nap and either fighting the nap or just playing in the crib.

2. Taking increasingly shorter morning naps such as 30 minutes.

3. Fighting the 2nd nap and 3 out of 5 days that 2nd nap is  just not happening. 

4.  Your first nap is starting later than 10:30 and/or your second nap is starting after 3:30.  If your first nap starts after 10:30 am that means your 2nd nap falls in the 3:00pm ish range and it can be harder to get kids to nap that time of day. 


2 to 1 Nap transition Strategies:

  1. You can stay on two naps by limiting the morning nap to 45 minutes.  This will have your afternoon starting before that 3:30 pm awkward time. 
  2. You drop the morning nap and stretch your baby to 5+ hours, with lunch before hand, and try and get a 3 hour nap in. 

Helpful Tips on the 2-1 Nap Transition:

Helpful Tips on the 2-1 Nap Transition:

  • Very often a good sleeper will sleep for 3 hours when the transition first occurs.  Thus an 11:30 am nap time can mean getting up at 2:30 pm from the nap.  This won’t be forever, and slowly you can move the 11:30 back towards 12:00 and then 12:30 and then 1:00 pm as the days pass and they become more habituated to the longer awake time in the morning.  
  • At this age, your toddler needs between 1.5 – 3 hours of nap time per day and 11-12 hours of total night time sleep.   We often think of nap transitions as black and white.  Meaning that one day they are on 2 naps, and the next day they are ready to handle 1 nap.   This is not usually the case as nap transitions can take up to a couple of weeks to achieve one consistent daily nap.    
  • If you start having early wake ups, due to teething or being overtired, you would move back to 2 naps if he woke before 6 am. 
  • This transition period can be a challenge at daycare where they often have strict 1 pm put down times to accommodate a variety of ages in their care.  During the initial nap transition days, you can ask your provider if you child could go down at 12:30 instead of 1 pm, and then get up a little later than the group just to squeeze in that extra nap time during that first week of being on one nap.  
  • Daycare will often wake all the kids up at say 3 pm, so they can have a snack, and playtime before parents start arriving for pick up, and activities always take place in a group. Maybe your child could sleep until 3:30 pm?  Then you could squeeze a 3 hour nap into that 2 hour nap time.  
  • Another factor that can make the 2-1 nap transition challenging is that it can coincide with the 18 month sleep regression.

Another factor that can make the 2-1 nap transition challenging is that it can coincide with the 18 month sleep regression.

YOU CAN READ THAT POST HERE: WHY THE 18 MONTH SLEEP REGRESSION IS THE WORST.  

If you can’t get  little extra nap time at daycare, then you can compensate by putting your toddler to bed a little bit earlier at night.  

An earlier bedtime cuts into your time with your child at the end of the day, but it makes for a better rested and thus happier toddler.

 The most important thing to remember is that sleep begets sleep. The more well rested your child, the easier it will be for that child to fall asleep and to stay asleep.  It is a journey and its never perfect but we all do the best we can and they will survive!  

If you've been having sleep issues outside of this nap transition, I can help empower you to teach your LO to sleep and parent confidently night and day.  I offer free 15 minute calls to discuss your situation and how I can help. Contact Me!

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