At around 15 months your child may no longer need 2 naps but just 1 day nap. Younger children, still need 2 naps for biological reasons. There is no one specific right time for this change as each child is very different and as they have done their whole life, will do things differently to other children when it comes to developmental milestones. Like crawling or walking, children start these at different ages, some children may transition to 1 nap at 12 months but others at 18 months. If this transition is commenced too early, it can back fire and create an unnecessarily over tired child which will likely mean a stressed parent. The amount of sleep a child get from this 1 nap is also important. A child who transitions at 12 months will likely require more sleep during their 1 nap, than a child who transitions at 18 months. Not to mention, that there are differences in development and sleep requirements in each child which means different nap requirements both day and night, no matter their age. So the time of the nap in the day is important as well as the duration of the nap.
This is a transitional process and can be tricky like any transition, so hang on to the two naps as long as you can! During the transition, it can be difficult as children become overtired as they adjust to doing just 1 nap in the day (around the middle of the day) and the adjustment of bed time during this stage. Through this time, your child may also benefit from having 2 naps some days and having 1 other days. This will prevent having an overtired child where ever possible and give them the chance to catch up on sleep.
Nap transition from 2 to 1 nap can be indicated by the following:
· Waking up earlier which is not their normal pattern
· Resisting the second nap of the day
· Child’s naps have shortened
· Child is aged 15-18 months old
Helpful transition hints
· Your child may require an earlier bed time than previously as they adjust to this one nap and because the time of the nap being later than previously
· As much as possible, stay home during this transitional time as often children sleep shorter amounts on the run, so it is better if they can have a significant nap during the day at home to create consistency for the new nap schedule
· Avoid making this transition around the times of developmental leaps or if you are aware of certain sleep regressions
· Work with sleep consultant to have a solid routine and some foundations in place before transitioning. This will make the transition smoother
The Holistic Sleep Project