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Helping Your Toddler Transition From Two Naps To One

A series of big and small milestones mark the journey of parenthood. One such milestone that parents often encounter is transitioning from two naps to one as their toddler grows. This shift in their sleep routine can be a moment of celebration and a source of concern. In this article, we will explore the signs that indicate your toddler is ready for the transition, plan the process, and make necessary adjustments for the naptime shift. As parents, your goal is to provide the best environment and support for your child’s development; this transition is a significant part of that journey.

The transition from two daily naps to one is a significant milestone in a toddler’s life, signalling a shift in their sleep and developmental needs. Typically, this transition happens between 12 and 18 months and may involve resistance and irregular sleep patterns. It is essential for parents to recognise the signs of readiness, understand the importance of consistency, and offer ample patience as their little one adjusts. This transition can become smoother with an active approach, ensuring your toddler receives the rest they need to grow mentally and physically.

1. Signs It’s Time for the Transition

Before looking into the transition process, it is essential to understand when your toddler might be ready for this change.

a. Age and Development

While most toddlers transition between 15 to 18 months, consider your child’s individual development as essential. Some may be ready earlier, while others may need more time.

b. Shortened Morning Nap

Night Wakings

A clear sign that your toddler is ready for this transition is when they consistently shorten their morning nap or even begin to refuse it. This indicates that they are naturally shifting toward a single nap routine.

2. Planning the Transition

A successful transition begins with a well-thought-out plan.

a. Gradual Shift

Suddenly eliminating one nap can be disruptive to your toddler’s routine. Instead, gradually shift the timing of the morning nap later into the day. This can be achieved by pushing it by 15 minutes every few days until it aligns with a single afternoon nap.

b. Create a New Routine

Blanket castle for child and mother- toddler transition

Establishing a new naptime routine that suits your toddler’s single nap schedule is crucial. Create a calming pre-nap routine, including reading books, cuddling, or gentle lullabies. This routine signals to your child that it is time to wind down for their single, more extended nap.

3. Adjusting Daily Routines

During the transition to one nap, you must adapt some daily routines.

a. Morning Activities

Plan engaging morning activities to keep your toddler alert and engaged until naptime. These might include playdates, outdoor play, or creative indoor activities stimulating their senses and energy.

b. Lunchtime Routine


Shift your toddler’s lunchtime to coincide with their new nap schedule. Having lunch just before their afternoon nap ensures they have a full tummy without being overly full, making them more comfortable for sleep.

4. Navigating naptime

Creating a calming naptime environment is essential for your toddler to embrace this change.

a. Naptime Environment

Transform their sleep space into a calm, dark, and quiet environment. Use blackout curtains to block out daylight, and maintain a comfortable room temperature to ensure restful sleep.

b. Comfort Items

child sleeping with his comfort toy- toddler transition

Offer familiar comfort items, such as a favourite stuffed animal or blanket, to help your toddler settle into their new nap routine. These items provide a sense of security and familiarity, making the transition more comfortable.

5. Managing Sleep Regression

During the transition, it is common for toddlers to experience sleep regression.

a. Be Patient

Be ready for some resistance and fussiness as your toddler adapts to their new sleep schedule. This is normal and should be expected.

b. Consistency is Key

toddler sleeping peacefully

Maintain a consistent nap schedule, even when your toddler may resist. Consistency helps them adjust to the new routine more effectively.

6. Adapt as Needed

Every child is unique, and flexibility is essential during this transition.

a. Listen to Your Toddler

Pay close attention to your child’s cues. If they still need two naps occasionally, allow for flexibility in your routine.

b. Communication

toddler sleeping in the day

Talk to your toddler about the upcoming change. Reassure them that it is a normal part of growing up and that you support them through this transition.

7. Benefits of One Nap

Embrace the advantages of transitioning to one nap for you and your toddler.

a. Longer Naptime

With a single nap, your toddler may enjoy a more extended and restorative sleep, allowing them to wake up refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.

b. Simplified Schedule

mother putting the child to sleep

Transitioning to one nap can simplify your daily routine, providing more flexibility for activities and outings. It also allows you to plan more extended tours without the constraints of multiple nap times.

In conclusion, helping your toddler transition from two naps to one is a significant developmental milestone. By recognising the signs that your child is ready and planning the transition, you can easily guide your toddler through this change. Making necessary adjustments is also crucial in this process. Be prepared for challenges and sleep regressions, but remember that patience and consistency are your allies during this transition.

This transition marks another step in your toddler’s growth and independence. Embrace the change, communicate openly with your child, and celebrate their progress. With your love and support, you can help your toddler establish a healthy sleep routine that suits their developmental stage. This ensures they get the rest they need to survive. Your guidance in this transition is  proof to your dedication as a parent. It also sets the stage for a lifetime of successful changes and milestones to come.

This article is approved by Dr. A.K. Gadpayle,  Medical Superintendent , Sharda Hospital.

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