When Do Kids Stop Napping? Everything Parents Need To Know
All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, this includes your little one’s nap time. However, this transition opens the door to new opportunities for your family! Answering the question, “When do kids stop napping?” is the first step.
There are some revealing clues from your little one when they’re ready to stop napping. Find out exactly what these clues are and how you can help your child transition out of naps!
When Do Kids Stop Napping?
Many parents often wonder when kids stop napping. This is a great question because your daily schedule sometimes hinges on your child’s nap time!
During your child’s first year of life, they transition from five to six naps per day down to one or two naps per day. It’s all for a good reason: Your baby is growing quite a bit during those snooze sessions.
After that first year, your little one will still need these sessions to continue to grow and develop. Preschool-aged children need about 13 hours of sleep per day.
While nap time is usually cut out of the picture around three or four years of age, some children can still take naps even at five years old.
When they stop napping varies from child to child. Each child is uniquely made, and some just need more sleep than others!
Signs Your Child Is Ready To Stop Napping
It’s time to play a game of Follow the Leader with your little one, at least in terms of their nap schedule. The following signs are sure giveaways that it’s time to close the chapter on naps.
Trouble Falling Asleep At Nap Time
Your child will let you know when they’re ready to stop napping when they become restless during their normal naptime routine. They’re more playful than restful and have a hard time falling asleep.
Doesn’t Want To Go To Sleep At Night
When bedtime rolls around, all of a sudden your preschooler has a boost of energy! They’re fighting off bedtime and it takes them a while to fall asleep.
If this is a common theme at night, your little one is probably ready to stop napping during the day.
Stays Awake Throughout The Day
Some children try to fight off nap time during the day but will catnap in the late afternoon, especially if they’re riding in the car.
Children who are ready to stop napping won’t even take a catnap and will be able to stay awake throughout the day, even for long car rides.
Has No Changes In Their Mood
Transitioning out of naps can be tricky for some kids and leave them in a bad mood, particularly late afternoon or early evening time.
If your little one is ready to drop their nap, they won’t have meltdowns (most of the time!) in the evenings and they’ll be content. Now, every kid has their ups and downs, but we’re talking about a consistent fussy time (a.k.a the witching hour!).
Your child will let you know they’re done napping when they’re in a good mood for most of the day, especially around dinnertime.
Sleeps Well At Night Without A Nap
You can have confidence that it’s time to put a bow on nap time and wrap it up when your little one is sleeping well at night without a nap.
Your child will go to bed at a pretty decent time and wake up refreshed, not irritable. And when bedtime does roll around, your little one falls asleep with ease.
Signs Your Child Still Needs A Nap
On the flip side, your child may still need a nap during the day and might be trying to delay the inevitable. If you notice any of the signs below, try adjusting your little one’s sleep schedule, like moving nap time a little bit later or changing their bedtime.
Your little one will let you know they still need a nap during the day when they have consistent meltdowns. Every child will have a meltdown occasionally; what we’re talking about are patterns in their behavior.
This is when it’s hard to have family time in the evenings because irritability has now become a daily thing. Everyone (even adults!) becomes irritable when they’re not getting the sleep their body needs!
As ironic as it may sound, some kids stay awake when they’re overtired. This means their body is past the point of exhaustion and your little one just doesn’t know what to do.
If your child is overtired, they’ll start:
- Crying at bedtime
- Rubbing their eyes
- Getting fidgety
If they’re showing signs of being overtired, it means they’re not ready to drop their nap just yet.
Falling Asleep Too Early
Is your child falling asleep right after dinner, or even at the dinner table? This behavior is a surefire giveaway that your little one still needs a nap.
Every now and then your little one has a busy day and they’re just worn out from all the excitement, but if this happens consistently, you might need to increase (or reinstate) nap time.
Sleeping Later In The Morning
One way or another, your child will get all their sleep in, and sleeping late might be the way! It might be harder to wake them up in the morning, or when they do wake up, they’re pretty fussy and irritable.
This is because they’re not getting the sleep they need during the day, so they’re trying to make up for it at night...and it’s just not cutting it!
How To Help Your Child Transition Out Of Naps
It’s not a good idea to cut naps out of your little one’s routine cold-turkey. They need a transition period before they drop their nap time altogether. One way to do this is by paying attention to the signs we mentioned above and going from there.
If your little one is showing signs that they might be ready to stop napping, give them a quiet time instead of nap time.
For example, when it’s their regularly scheduled nap time, put them in their room and lay them down as you normally would. Give them a quiet activity to do, like reading a book, coloring, or doing a puzzle for a certain amount of time.
Their surroundings should also be quiet, so this means if your child has older siblings, they should also find something quiet to do or play outside.
This time should be routine and supervised by using a monitor so you can see what they do (you wouldn’t want to give them free rein!).
If they’re choosing to engage in a quiet activity rather than taking a nap and it’s consistent for several days, then congratulations! They’ve just transitioned out of nap time on their own!
On the other hand, if they’re crashing toward the end of their quiet time, they need to continue napping.
What To Do When Your Child Stops Napping
You will need to do a few things once your little one does stop napping. Since they’ll need more sleep at night, adjust their bedtime to accommodate their sleep needs.
Their bedtime routine needs to be structured once it’s adjusted. Allow your little one some time to unwind at the end of the day by giving them a bath and using Babo Botanicals Calming Shampoo, Bubble Bath & Wash.
The soothing scent of lavender helps your child relax before falling asleep. Follow up with our Calming Baby Lotion (not just for babies!) that emits a naturally relaxing smell to help your little one get more restful sleep.
Lastly, teach the value of quiet time. It’s still important for your child (and you!) to have some downtime in the middle of the day to regroup and recharge for the rest of the day.
So even though they’re not getting a nap, your child still needs to choose a quiet activity to do in their room.
That’s A Wrap On Naps!
Even though the chapter on nap time is closed, a new chapter opens and the possibilities for your family are endless. This means that your little one is growing and maturing, and that’s something to celebrate!
But first, follow the lead on your little one’s cues. They’ll let you know if they’re ready to stop napping. Help your child transition out of naps by teaching them how to have downtime in the middle of their day and adjusting their bedtime routine as needed.