Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Are you finally on a good sleep schedule but worried about a looming nap transition? Or maybe a previous transition undid all of your hard work. Keep reading to find out how to navigate the next transition smoothly and seamlessly!
#1 Watch for the signs
You'll know it's time for a nap transition when you see one or more of these signs:
Difficulty settling or refusing the last nap
Early morning rising
Difficulty settling at bedtime
Increased night wakes
Increased stamina - no longer tired at usual nap time
#2 Don't attempt it too soon
Sleep disruptions can happen for several reasons. The best way to know if a sleep disruption is due to an upcoming nap transition is to...wait!
Developmental milestones can affect sleep in the same ways as listed above. If the disruptions go on for more than 2 weeks it's likely not being caused by any new changes and you can start thinking about a nap transition.
#3 Take it slow
Don't make any big changes too fast. Ease into the nap transition by increasing wake windows 15 minutes every 3 days, and decreasing the length of the last nap until it's 15-20 minutes in length. When wake windows are long enough and you run out of time for that last nap in the day, it's time to drop it!
Taking the transition slowly and moving in increments can actually help the transition happen easier and faster than just jumping into it.
#4 Move up bedtime
Bedtime probably got a little later while you were pushing wake windows and getting in that last nap, so when you drop it you will have to move bedtime earlier for a while. This can look like a bedtime of 6:00-6:30pm until they are adjusted to the new schedule and bedtime can move back to 7:00-7:30pm.
#5 Give it time
Some nap transitions just take longer than others. Don't be discouraged if baby needs an extra nap some days for a week or two after you've made the transition. Just keep trying to stay on track the next day and eventually it will all come together.
To transition to a 1 nap schedule a baby/toddler must be able to sustain a 5 hour wake window. To transition to a 2 nap schedule a baby must be able to sustain a 3 hour wake window.
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