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How to Wean Your Toddler Off Naps


Everyone knows the power of a good nap (for parents and toddlers alike). A tired kid is an unhappy kid. But getting your little one to take a successful nap is no easy feat. Some moms and dads spend months fighting with their child to rest. Eventually, nap time becomes essential for everyone in the family. However, no matter how good or bad of a sleeper your child is, there comes a point where nap time should be no more. For most children, napping should end between the ages of 2 and 5. Here are some helpful tips to successfully wean your little one off naps.

A little at a time

Cold turkey rarely succeeds, no matter what someone is trying to cut out. The same goes for your little one and napping. Just eliminating it from your family's schedule will cause more harm than good. You're likely to get a whole house of grumpy and tired people. Instead, try diminishing the naps a little bit at a time. For example, if your kid is taking a two-hour nap every day, try shaving off intervals of 20 minutes each week. It'll be a transition for your toddler, and it will give his or her body time to adapt. Something that also goes hand-in-hand with getting rid of nap time is incorporating an earlier bed time. That way, he or she won't be missing out completely on the Zzz's. If you're having a hard time putting him or her to bed before the usual time, try an earlier start to the morning. This could result in a earlier bed time at the end of each day. It will give your child the full hours of sleep he or she needs without the nap.

Avoid the afternoon snooze

The mid-day sleepiness can be lethal for people of all ages. Usually, it's right after lunch or a long activity. It's normal to feel tired and want to lie down to rest. However, it's important to keep your little one going during this time. Otherwise, your kid will be laying his or head down in no time. Try to avoid activities where nodding off is inevitable such as long car rides, television shows and movies or large, unhealthy meals. Instead, opt for engaging playtime like games or going to the park. This way, your toddler will stay active and running around while having fun. He or she might even blow through naptime without even realizing it.

Note: Feeding your child something healthy and nutritious can help energize him or her for the rest of the day. Greasy, fried foods will slow your toddler down. Practice good eating habits with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Don't push it

No two babies are the same, so you shouldn't expect weaning off naps to be either. During this transition period, sleepiness, meltdowns and crankiness are unavoidable at times. But try not to put your family on a strict timeline. Some babies give up naps overnight, and others take months. Give you and your little one as much time as needed. Down the road, you'll forget about when naps were even an issue.

Hint: Be sure to talk to other parents. They may have techniques that could come in handy and work for your little one, too! You never know what kind of tips and tricks there are if you don't ask.

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