When does my baby/toddler drop to one nap? How many naps should they be having at 18 months? This typically occurs about 12-18 months but from my experience working with families, I find it’s closer to 12-14 months. There are two key signs that your little one is ready to drop to one nap:
- Having a morning nap means they aren’t tired post lunch and they push their afternoon nap later. This means the nap finishes later and they aren’t tired enough at their usual bedtime.
- Their morning nap covers their sleep needs for the day and they drop their afternoon nap altogether as they just aren’t tired at lunchtime. But it’s too long a stretch until bedtime which means they are grumpy and can’t make it to bedtime.
When bedtime is being impacted, it’s the morning nap that little ones need to drop, or consolidate into one post lunch nap.
The best way to do this is to drop the morning nap altogether and bring the afternoon nap forward. Plan a week of engaging morning activities that will keep your little one going until 10:30/11am. Offer them a light lunch – I know this sounds early, but you can gradually push lunch back to your usual time. When they wake from their nap they can have a substantial snack so it’s a bit like a split lunch.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks try and push lunchtime back in 5-10 minutes increments until it’s back to about 11:30am/12pm, then have the single nap around 12.30/1pm, with wake-up no later than 3pm for a 7pm bedtime.
If you need to bring bedtime forward during the transitional period that’s ok. Just bring dinner forward too to allow for proper digestion.
For other great sleep advice, read more of The Daddy Sleep Consultant’s content on bloss.