Napping helps us recharge our internal batteries and get rest if we need it. For toddlers, a nap gives them a chance to refresh after running around chasing the family pet in circles, helps their overall well-being and development, and gives them the energy to constantly ask, “Why?”
Toddlers (kiddos between the ages of 1-2 years old) require 11-14 hours of sleep over 24 hours. This includes naps. When they reach preschool age (3-5 years old), children should get 10-13 hours of sleep and may not need naps. There is no rule as to when your child should stop napping because it depends on their energy level, how active they are during the day, and if they’re able to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
There’s no official playbook on napping but there are certain cues you can pick up on that’ll let you know when your youngster doesn’t need their daily dose of dozing off. Plus, Snorble®, our smart companion for kids, has tools for sleep, education, and social-emotional development to get your child ready for their no-nap future.
Let’s get into it, but first, why are naps good for kiddos?
Why do children need naps?
Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep medicine expert, says naps play an important role in a child’s ability to learn, improve their memory, and even build vocabulary. For parents and caregivers, a napping child gives you a chance to catch some zzzs yourself or take care of chores, get some work done, and have some quiet time where no one is asking you, “Why?”.
When naps are no longer needed
Eventually, your little one will outgrow their need for naps. For some children, naps end at age three. For others, naps are needed until age five. To figure out when your child is done with napping, there are certain cues you can pick up on besides them saying they don’t want to nap anymore.
Sleep doesn’t come easily at nap time
If your kiddo is having difficulty falling asleep at nap time, this could be a sign that they’ve outgrown the need for it. You may notice that your little one is no longer tired during the day, especially around the time that they’d go down for a nap. You may also notice that your child is singing, playing, tossing and turning while laying in bed before eventually falling asleep. This is their version of trying to tire themselves out and after a while, it may not work. This could mean that they need to forgo their nap or change the timing of when the nap occurs.
Sleep doesn’t come easily at night
At a certain point, napping during the day could hinder your child’s ability to fall asleep at night. Instead of pushing your kiddo’s bedtime later, monitor when they’re sleepy. This will give you an idea of when they need to go to bed and if they still need a nap. It’s better for their development to shorten the amount of time spent napping during the day but not the amount of time spent sleeping at night. In addition, creating a bedtime routine will give your little one a way to prepare for sleep at the same time each night (or sameish because we know all too well that having children means schedules can change on a dime). If you haven’t set up a bedtime routine for your child, Snorble has that feature (more on that later).
They’re not cranky on no-nap days
Hold it right there - a child that isn’t cranky? Yes, it is possible but only when they’ve had enough sleep during the night. If your youngster is all smiles and laughter on days they don’t nap, it could be a sign that they’re ready to give up their daytime zzzs. But, be aware that although crankiness is a common sign that your child is tired, it could also be caused by them not understanding how to regulate their emotions yet. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Emotions are tough, even when you’re an adult.
They’re waking up way, way, way, way before they’re supposed to
When your kiddo is waking up hours before their set wakeup time, it could be because they’ve slept enough during nap time that they don’t need those extra winks. You can try shortening their nap or if they’re consistently well-rested and waking up early, eliminate the nap. If your child is an early riser, Snorble has quiet games and activities they can do that will keep them in their bedroom until it’s their actual wakeup time (more on that below).
How to encourage your child to stop napping
When it’s time to stop napping, it’s time to stop napping, especially if your child is starting school where they won’t be able to get their daily respite. There are ways to encourage your child to let go of naps without over-tiring them.
Make time for quiet time
Instead of putting your kiddo down for their nap, put them down for quiet time. Let them sit quietly for an hour with a book or listen to soft music while they color. They can also unwind with yoga or mindfulness exercises (Snorble has these activities) so they can recharge without sleeping.
Cold turkey is only good for sandwiches
Quitting napping cold turkey can mess with your child’s sleep habits. Allow for an adjustment period where naps are allowed every second day to start and eventually taper off. Let your child transition away from naps gradually over a few weeks or a month - however long you feel your kiddo needs to stop taking daily naps. Moving away from naps won’t happen in a day. It could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Moreover, what works for one child may not work for another so you’ll need a lot of patience which as parents/caregivers is pretty much expected of us.
Snorble’s got the goods for sleep and development
Our smart companion for children is more than a toy, it’s an interactive STEM/STEAM experience during the day and a magical bedtime experience at night. We’ve designed our cute and cuddly companion to be hugged and loved but also allow your kiddo to get a good night’s sleep and enhance their social-emotional development. Snorble teaches children healthy habits like the importance of teeth brushing, tells stories to give young imaginations a boost, and prepares them for starting school with educational STEM/STEAM games. There’s also yoga, reflection, and mindfulness activities for quiet time and a customizable bedtime routine that you can set for your little one complete with ambient nightlights and soothing soundscapes. With Snorble, when your youngster asks, “Why?,” they’ll have the tools to figure out the answer for themselves, and you’ll get peace of mind.
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash