Have you ever wondered when your little one should stop napping during the day? Do you feel at a loss because if they don’t take a nap they are grumpy, and yet if they do take a nap they don’t sleep that night?
As a parent, I have wondered myself. So, in this article, I will share with you some thoughts and recommendations for daytime slumberland.
When Should Kids No Longer Nap
Just as every child varies in means of learning, when they start talking, and potty training, so does the age at which your child should and should not be napping during the day. According to the Sleep Foundation, less than 10% of children are regularly napping at the age of 6, and almost all have finished napping by the age of 7. There are signs for when your child is ready to stop taking naps.
- Difficulty falling asleep at nap time.
- Difficulty falling asleep at night time.
- Waking early.
- There are no signs of sleepiness on days without naps.
- They are not taking naps anymore.
This also goes on to inform people that although a child has stopped consistently napping, it does not mean that an occasional nap won’t happen after this. In fact, my 6-year-old still takes a nap at least three times a month!
The Importance of Not Stopping Nap Time Too Soon
Sleep is essential for everyone, and children are no exception to this. If your child isn’t getting enough rest this can greatly impact their overall health, mentally and physically. In an article by the National Institutes of Health, sleep is actually linked to brain development.
Children who were not getting enough sleep had issues with:
- Aggressiveness and,
- Thinking problems
Furthermore, sleep deprivation in toddlers can cause problems such as,
- Trouble sleeping
- Sleeping longer in the morning
- Regularly falling asleep outside of normal nap times
Is My Child Ready to Stop Naps?
As a parent, you are essentially the judge of what is best for them, especially when they are younger. If they display the signs from earlier chances are your child is ready to stop napping. However, if they are still necessary then the signs they display will also help you with this.
For instance, if your child drastically changes moods in the afternoon after not taking a nap that day, then it is likely that your child still needs that nap. It is important to have them do this even if they resist. Perhaps soothing music in a darkened room can help ease your child to sleep.
How To Help My Child Stop Naptime
When your child is ready to stop napping, they might need some help going in the right direction. Here are some tips to help you wean your child from naps:
- Wake them up sooner.
- This will help them pass off the naps on their own.
- Give an earlier bedtime.
- Waking earlier will also mean they are sleepy earlier in the evening.
- Avoid being in the sun excessively (only as they are breaking the habit).
- The heat can exhaust you, particularly if you are an active toddler.
- Smaller lunches with energizing foods.
- Having too full of a stomach can make you lethargic.
- Replace with “quiet time”.
- By doing this your child has the option to play quietly or to sleep.
As a mom to 8 children, I find that naptime can be a fickle thing. My toddler is approaching an age where he is gradually taking shorter naps. Though he is not ready to stop completely, he is certainly trying to.
Children his age, the about-to-be-preschool age, need around 13 hours of sleep, and having a routine for bed can help immensely. Getting them adequate sleep will help them so much in the future. So here is to your child’s future success!
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