When to drop your toddler's second nap

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When to drop your toddler's second nap

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Toddlers transition from 2 naps 1 nap between 15 and 18 months. And a lot of times parents will do it too early in hopes of improving night sleep. So I don't want you to do that, okay. And actually I don't want you to transition them to one nap until they're sleeping through the night, because you're going to further sleep deprive them, which will make their night fall apart. So let's say your toddler is sleeping through the night, but you're thinking they're ready to transition to 1 nap. So they usually lose the morning nap. And they keep the afternoon nap. So what you'll often see is either you put them down for their morning nap and they don't go to sleep - they play and jump around like a free-for-all in their crib for an hour. Either that's happening. Or they're in there and they don't fall asleep until 10, 10:30, and they want to sleep until 1:00 in the afternoon. You have to see these signs consistently, meaning not 1-2 times every here and there, but several times over the course of at least 2-3 weeks, where you say wow! I think my toddler's ready to go to 1 nap. Particularly also if they take one nap, and then they don't want an afternoon nap until dinner time. That will be another sign. So what you'd start to do is start to move that morning nap later and later and later until you're in the afternoon, at least 12 noon. And then eventually it will go to 1. So you don't want to wait too long. You want to do this in about a week. So you go maybe it's about 9:30. And if you can make a big leap to 10:30, and then 11:00, 11:30, 12:00 until finally the afternoon nap is all the way into the afternoon. And try to avoid being in the car in the morning during that time where they might have a little disaster nap and then it will throw off the afternoon. I know this is hard. We're only talking about a week where you're sort of tied to the house. And entertain them and distract them until they can make it to the afternoon nap. Please don't get stuck with napping from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. because I see this happen over and over and that is about 6 weeks of that, your toddler will start to wake up in the middle of the night, because they're awake too long from the afternoon nap to bedtime. So don't get stuck there. Keep pushing it until after 12 noon.

View Kim West, LCSW-C's video on When to drop your toddler's second nap...

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Kim West, LCSW-C

Psychotherapist & Author, The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight

Kim West is a mother of two and a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) who has been a practicing child and family social worker for more than 19 years. Known as The Sleep Lady by her clients, over the past 12 years she has helped thousands of tired parents all over the world learn to listen to their intuition, recognize their child’s important cues and behaviors, and gently create changes that promote and preserve his or her healthy sleep habits. 

West has appeared on the Dr. Phil, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, TLC’s Bringing Home Baby  and CNN, and has been written about in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Baby Talk,  Parenting, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, The Telegraph, The Irish Independent and the Washington Post. West hosts the sleep section of The Newborn Channel, played in maternity wards in hospitals across the country. West is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy with Joanne Kenen. She is also the author of 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies and The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook.

Kim received her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives with her family in Annapolis, Maryland.

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