Since the school holiday started a month ago, my youngest has dropped her nap altogether (oh no!) She is 3 years 8 months old. The transition was not easy as she would get very tired by 6pm. In the past month, I had to re-schedule her wind down time in the evening and bring everything up earlier. Dinner must be prepared by 6pm. Shower at 6.30pm and bedtime routine begins.
She usually falls asleep between 6.45-7.15pm these days and would wake up to pee once, then sleeps through til 7am the next day.
Even though children who drop their daytime naps don’t need day to day nap, they still need naps once or twice a week to recharge their battery especially those who are sleeping less than 11 hours a night.
Here are a few tips that would help you during the transition to no nap for your pre-schoolers:
- The first 2 weeks or so, you will find that your child will resist naps like crazy and they CAN withstand being awake for very long hours. Then you will notice that by dinner time, they would be all over the place because they are too tired already.
- During this period, it is in the best interest of your child to be put to bed MUCH earlier than usual. Usually by 1-1.5 hours earlier. Just temporarily until he is not falling apart at dinner time. This means, dinner and bedtime routine must also be shifted earlier to accommodate early bedtime.
- You will see that he will probably fall asleep in a moving vehicle easily as his body is adjusting to the no nap schedule. This is okay and you should encourage him to take these naps to help his body recharge and avoid overtiredness.
- After about 2 weeks of this, you can see that your child is getting used to being awake a little longer and is no longer having a meltdown. This does not mean that you can go back to the late bedtime but you can start to push bedtime back just a little later by 15 minutes increment until you reach the desired bedtime OR the time when you feel that is meeting his sleep needs appropriately.
- 3 to 4 year olds still need about 11-12 hours of total sleep. Some are still needing naps past the age of 4. Learn your child’s cues, watch his behavior and signs of overtiredness in case if he’s not ready for no nap schedule yet.
- Encourage quiet time or rest time to replace their nap time. Lie down and read books, do some coloring or drawing or listen to relaxing music.
Bedtime varies from one child to another depending on the family’s lifestyle. There are children who do 9pm-9am schedule. My daughters are on the 7pm-7am schedule. Some 3 year olds have already started pre-school so you should take the school hours (if morning session) into consideration so that they are not too sleepy from being forced to be awake.
This is a good experience for me to transition down to no nap at an earlier age for my youngest. My eldest was napping like a superstar until she was close to 5 years old.
How old did your child drop his or her nap?