We all have seen that infants fall asleep more often than toddlers, and we believe that this is normal for sleeping habits. When your baby grows into a toddler, he or she only requires 2 to 1 nap each day as they develop the ability for extended awake time. Now, you must have been thinking about when to transition to one nap, how long this 2 to 1 transition took, and at what age most babies acquire this transition to one nap schedule.
So, this transition can often take 2-4 weeks, and most babies drop the second nap between 12 and 24 months of age. Usually for a baby, total daytime sleep of 13-14 hours is essential (for most toddlers this means a 2-3 hours nap and 11-12 hours during night time).
You might be wondering if it’s time to drop a nap if your baby’s two-nap pattern has changed from predictable to unpredictable. This blog post will answer your all queries related to correct wake time, awake time, and smooth nap transition.
How To Transition One Nap From Two Of My Toddler?
This is a gradual approach in which the morning sleep time will be moved back three days in a row and continue until it occurs between 11:30 and 12:30.
Many parents expect their kids to feel a little sleepy at their typical nap time. Avoid taking them out in the pram or for a car ride at that time. This could cause quick cat naps that could interfere with their actual sleep cycle, making the nap transition more challenging. However, giving them some snacks or taking them outside for some fresh air and sunlight during their old nap time to convert it into awake time will ease the transition process.
These quick cat naps are better than putting your child down for a long nap. Until kids adjust to the new schedule, it can also be necessary to temporarily set an earlier bedtime.
How Do You Know When Is Your Baby Ready For Just One Nap?
The following symptoms will let you know that your baby is approaching the 1-nap transition:
Avoiding Naps: The first telltale indicator showing your child is ready to transition to 1 nap is when your child refuses the midday nap approximately 4–5 times a week for at least two weeks straight.
Early Wakings and Split Nights: If your 14–18-month-old baby wakes up earlier than usual for a period of two or more weeks without all other potential causes like night wakings, then it might be time to switch two naps to one.
Taking Shorter-Than-Usual Naps: The nap transition from 2 to 1 is related to shorter naps. In terms of nap sleep, total sleep needed, the timing of sleep, and the wake window are also related. Your baby’s sleep requirements gradually decrease as they grow older (12–18 months), and they require more awake time to be fatigued enough to go to sleep and fall asleep.
Always remember that babies’ 1-nap transition schedule may extend their nighttime sleep if your child falls asleep regularly for less than 10 hours in their two-nap routine.
How To Manage Transition From Two Naps To One?
When to offer naps during the transition time can be difficult to determine. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for your baby’s adjustment to a one-nap schedule. Sleep and awake time may become irregular for a few weeks, but bear in mind that your baby will get used to it. Here are some alternatives to manage the transition from two naps to one:
Lengthen the Wake Windows: Early waking time is preferable for babies to get to an earlier bedtime and stay asleep around the age of 12 months. It is necessary to make a 3 to 3.5-hour stay-awake window in order to create enough sleep pressure for them. It’s a fact that kids sleep better with longer wake windows as opposed to skipping long naps.
Leave the Nap Cold Turkey: Some kids can undergo a 1-nap transition schedule right away, moving the morning nap to midday and going for an early bedtime. This is possible only for those kids who have already been awake for four or more hours following their first nap and stay consistent.
Gradual Transition Period: Young toddlers are ready to drop a nap and are displaying preparedness, as well as those who become overtired quickly, may benefit more from a gradual 1-nap transition.
Every few days, start by pushing the first nap by 15 minutes. While your baby should take their first nap before midday, you might need to give them a catnap in the afternoon to ensure that they don’t get too exhausted at night. If your baby doesn’t sleep when you offer them the catnap, they will need an early bedtime, but no sooner than 6:00 PM.
Reversal Between The Two Schedules: A toddler may be able to go several days in a row without taking a short nap comfortably during the nap transition. On the other hand, chronic overtiredness might cause sleep problems. As your child becomes accustomed to staying awake for extended periods, switching between one-nap days and two-nap days might be useful in reducing overtiredness.
To “reset” the sleep pressure, allowing two naps every few days or just on the weekends is totally fine. You should continue to provide an earlier bedtime to prevent your child from becoming overtired if they skip the second nap.
Is It Hard Transitioning To One Nap For A Toddler?
The 1-nap transition can be a challenging time for both parents and toddlers. This is because nap time is a crucial period of rest and rejuvenation for young children, and getting the timing right can be difficult.
There’s no need to battle with nap transitions if you’re facing some difficulties, and you can hope that things will improve. You may develop an action plan to ensure that you have a sleep-trained baby with a successful one nap.
The ideal time for a toddler to transition from 2 to 1 naps is usually between 12-18 months of age. However, some children may transition earlier or later, and it ultimately depends on the individual child’s needs and sleep patterns.
Finally, be patient with your baby’s irregular sleep schedule for a full transition, as sometimes your child will undergo short naps, sleep longer patterns, early morning wake-ups, night wakings, cat naps, morning naps, afternoon naps, and more.
It may take a few weeks or even a month for your child to fully adjust to the new nap transition schedule, but with time and consistency, they should settle into a healthy sleep routine.
How Long Does It Take Toddler To Adjust To One Nap?
It is common for toddlers to experience some disruptions in their sleep patterns during the nap transition. The adjustment period can vary from child to child, but generally, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get your toddler to transition smoothly to 1 nap.
During this time, it is important to be patient and consistent with your child’s nap time routine. Take your toddler in the stroller or on a morning car ride to ensure they get fresh air and smooth rough patches with quiet time.
It’s also important to keep in mind that toddlers may still need a bit of extra sleep during the adjustment period. This means that it’s okay if they take shorter naps or push bedtime earlier than usual.
What Should 1 Nap Schedule Look Like?
In the 1-nap transition schedule, we have to remove the afternoon nap entirely and shift the morning nap to the middle of the day. Thus, your new 1-nap transition period will have one long midday nap. The second nap, late morning wake time, day sleep, late night sleep, and the second cat nap are not what we want in the 1-nap transition schedule.
The midday nap ensures that everyone has a chance to relax and recharge, and the same applies to the toddler’s newly expanded wake windows. You should expect your younger toddler to have this midday nap until they are about three years old. On the 1-nap schedule, your toddler should go through 4.5-5 hour maximum wake windows before and after the nap.
The nap transitions allow your young toddler to adjust by merging their daytime sleep into a single midday nap thanks to the 2 to 1 nap transition, which takes place between 12 and 14 months.
Your child’s morning nap will be pushed back during the transition by 30-minute intervals. Engage your child with some quiet play until it occurs in the middle of the day. (second nap ends!)
You should aim for only a short nap of 2-2.5 hours in the middle of the day in the 1-nap schedule, with a 5-hour wake time window before the nap and a 4.5-hour wake time window prior to falling asleep at night.
Your baby’s transition to 1 nap may need 4-6 weeks to get used to.