The Nap Transition

Sarah Ong Blog

I remember the time period when both my daughters were going through the nap transition being somewhat nightmarish. Just when I thought I had it all figured out with their sleep and naps, they decided that they don’t want to take that morning naps anymore. Then I was left unsure whether to keep them up til their next nap time or just keep trying to put them down to nap. If I waited, I would risk handling a very cranky and fussy baby. If I insisted they take their nap, they would be fussy anyway. So how did I handle the nap transition?

Most children transition from less one nap a day around specific ages. But every child is different with their nap needs and the table below gives a rough guide of how much your child should be napping. For Ariyana, she has always been a good sleeper so nap transition was not that bad. It was more complicated with Amelyn because being a spirited child, she never could stay asleep for long. So I followed their cues, and when the time came when they just refuse to fall asleep during that morning nap, I know they’re ready to drop that specific nap time.


Time Awake

# Naps per Day


45 min – 1 hour


3-6 months

1.5 – 2 hours


7 – 12 months

2 – 3.5 hours


13 – 17 months

3 – 5 hours


18 months – 4 years

5 – 7 hours


When Amelyn was ready to drop to one nap a day, I gradually moved her nap time by 30 minutes interval over three days. For example, she used to take her morning naps around 11am. When she refused to nap at 11am, I tried putting her down at 11.30am for the next three days and another 30 minutes later the following three days. I did that until she was napping at 1pm and she would nap for about 1-2 hours. Usually 1 hour 15 minutes tops. Though there were those rare days when she would nap up to 2 hours!

During this transition to one nap, I was also aware of her awake time. Since she could be awake for 5 hours, when she woke up from her nap at 2pm, her bedtime was around 7pm. If I had waited to put her to bed at 8pm, she would have a meltdown and “second wind” would’ve taken over.

Now at 22 months old, Amelyn takes her nap at 2pm for an hour and bedtime at 8.30pm. Ariyana, 4.5 years old, still takes her naps once in a while. I encourage that because I find she’s in high spirit after her nap and much more cooperative! Not mentioning some quiet time in the afternoon for this mama :)

Rarely does a 2 year old give up his nap entirely. This only happens from age 3 or even 4 onwards.

How was your experience with your child’s nap transition? Please share in the comments or offer insight to other parents!

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