1-0 Nap Transition: How to Drop Your Child’s Last Nap

17+ months

Mar 4, 2021

The 1-0 nap transition, when you drop your child’s final daytime nap, can feel really intimidating.

If you do a quick search on google or social media, you are bound to find an endless supply of “Debbie Downer” information and opinions when it comes to dropping your child’s nap for good.

But honestly, the 1-0 nap transition actually opens up and you can have ALL the fun without worrying about rushing home for nap time.

It’s amazing in so many ways.

You should excited for this new season and transition!

The 1-0 nap transition is a BIG milestone in your child’s life and you don’t have to run away from it in fear.

In this episode of the Little Z’s Sleep podcast I’m going to walk you through signs of what signs you will begin to see and how you can make this huge transition successful for everyone.

When is your child ready to give up naps?

One to none, let’s cover the 1-0 nap transition.

This may surprise some of you, but I recommend that your children drop their naps anywhere between 2.5 and 3 years old.

Children around the age of 3 will begin to shorten their night sleep if they are getting too much daytime sleep.

There’s a bit of variance on this, so if your child is still napping well during the day and it’s not affecting their sleep at night, then it’s not mandatory to drop their nap just yet.

If you start to see their long naps disrupting their night sleep, then it’s definitely something to consider and explore.

Signs it’s time to Drop Your Child’s Nap

  • Your child isn’t falling asleep for their nap, or is taking 45+ minutes to fall asleep for their nap
  • Your child is taking 45-90 minutes to fall asleep at bedtime
  • Your child is consistently experiencing early morning wakings, necessitating a mid-day nap

If your child is showing any of the generic signs above, then it’s likely time to begin the 1-0 nap transition and drop their nap.

Making the 1-0 nap transition

Both of my girls were around 2.5 years old when they begin having nap difficulties, and while I would really love for your child to hold on to the nap as long as possible, some children really are ready to drop their nap by 3 years old!

When it comes down to making any nap transition, it’s extremely important to be patient with yourself and your little one.

Remembering that it can take up 6-8 weeks for your child to adjust to the new change.

With that being said, it’s also important to commit to the transition, and move full speed ahead without second guessing yourself!

If you are wishy washy during the transition, it can lead to an overall longer transition period.

If your child has been showing signs of needing to drop their nap for two consecutive weeks or more, then it’s time to say goodbye to their daytime nap and hello “quiet time!”

>>> New to quiet time? Check out our podcast episode that is all about Teaching Your Child to Have a Quiet Time HERE. 

Let’s walk through how you and your child are going to make this transition, step by step, so that the 1-0 nap transition is successful and enjoyable for both your child and you!

Step 1: Stop Offering A Nap

Step one to dropping your child’s nap is to simply stop offering the nap.

Nap transitions boil down to simple math equations.

If your child is experiencing early morning wakings or bedtime difficulties, it’s because they need LESS daytime sleep.

If they are sleeping more during the day, they will sleep less during the night and early morning hours (which we don’t want!)

Night sleep is much more restorative, so we want that to be #1 priority for your child.

When you stop offering the daytime nap, you are allowing your child to sleep more at night.

Step 2: Implement Quiet Time

Now that your child has dropped their last nap, they are likely going to need some downtime (you likely need it too!).

When you take your child’s nap away, you can’t expect them to be awake all day and go, go, go!

They NEED a time to quiet their mind and body.

Every family will handle quiet time differently, but I recommend at least a 20-30 minute ‘quiet time’ during the middle of the day after lunch.

When I say quiet time, let me be really clear.

Quiet time is NOT tv or screen time.

Quiet time is an allotted amount of time during the middle of the day that allows your child child to rest, recharge, and play independently.

When you offer your child quiet time it’s a good idea to provide them with a special basket of books or independent toys that they can look forward to each day.

You will start out small with quiet time, and grow your child’s capacity.

Start with a kitchen timer and a short amount of time, like 10 minutes.

Every few days, increase the time duration.

Your goal is to hit at least 30 minutes of independent play, but if your child can go longer, like 60-90 minutes, then you can definitely let them.

Step 3: Offer an Early Bedtime 

Once you stop offering nap and begin offering quiet time, you are also going to want to offer your child an early bedtime for 6-8 weeks.


What about Daycare?

This can often be the biggest problem. If we can have an open and honest discussion with the daycare director, I would encourage you to share with them openly that daytime naps affect your child’s nighttime sleep.

Explore if the daycare can offer a short quiet time activity like a puzzle or coloring book. If that’s not an option, maybe your child can go to another room where no one else naps.

If daycare is letting them fall asleep and you’ve tried to get creative, let it go! Sometimes we can’t completely control their environment and schedule. Their schedule might look a bit different on daycare days. Don’t get discouraged!

How long with the nap transition take?

The no nap transition is going to take about six to eight weeks. While their bodies are adjusting, be sure to move up bedtime and offer some midday downtime.

I know it seems like a big step in your child’s life, but you can do it! You are doing a great job! Looking for more sleep tips? Subscribe to my podcast!

How to drop your child's nap | Little Z Sleep

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