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How to drop the Final Nap- A parents survival Guide.

Updated: Jul 8

Girl reading in bed for quiet time

It's happening. My 3.5 year old is showing signs it's time. He's dropping his nap-for good. With school starting in September, it's not surprising, but it doesn't make me feel any more ready for it! How are we here already? It makes him seem so big.

Wondering if it's time for your kiddo to drop the final nap? Read on for your survival guide and how to make a plan for this!

Signs it's time to drop the nap

  • Between the age of 3-5

  • Taking a LONG time to fall asleep at night.

  • They can make it through a day without a nap without too much struggle.

  • Awake in the middle of the night where previously they were not.

  • Not actually napping, but just hanging out in bed for 1.5/2 hours.

  • Sudden early morning wake ups

How To Transition

There is no real recipe for this, because kids are SO different. You might find they will need/happily take a nap, but other times they are geared up to go. The best way to approach this is with a little bit of flexibility and understanding your family dynamics. If you're a home for naps kind of family, you might want to consider implementing quiet time. If this is your third born who's nap has been on the go as long as you can remember, you'll find this might make life a bit easier for everyone (except be careful of that sneaky 5pm nap read below)

Transitioning to Quiet time

If you're not quite ready to say goodbye to that little reset a nap usually brings families? Introduce Quiet Time! It's a tough transition to go from a mid day nap, to 11 hours on the go, so a little quiet time can make a big difference for everyone!

How to introduce Quiet Time?

  • Explain the plan! Let your little one in on the changes that are coming. Speak about quiet time as an exciting scenario.

  • Start slow! Begin with just 15/20 minutes and gradually increase.

  • Reward the success in staying in their rooms during quiet time. Like REALLY reward it.

  • Hold onto your boundaries. They might protest at first, but remember their body needs some downtime.

  • Have a basket of toys you rotate and bring out just for quiet time.

when creating your basket for your child, please keep their personalities in mind. A child who likes to draw on the walls probably shouldn't get a colouring book and box of crayons in their basket unless you want a new mural on the wall. Consider their interests and their strengths when it comes to independent play and remember they will be playing with these toys with 0 supervision so ensure they are safe.

Avoiding the car nap.

This part can be a bit tricky. Personally during this transition, I'm totally ok with a little mid day car nap. This might even be a bit helpful on busy days where they might actually need a bit of a sleep. But if you're heading home after a busy day and they fall asleep at 5 o'clock, that can definitely mess with bedtime.

My top tips to avoid the 5pm nap: offer a favourite snack, favourite toys, roll down the windows, and play fun songs you can call sing along with!

IF you notice sudden silence in the back and there's no stopping this snooze, limit it to a quick 10 minute nap.

Cap the nap, before you cut it

If you're struggling with a late bedtime after a long daytime nap, try capping the nap to an hour before deciding to cut the nap completely.

If you're in a daycare setting for naps, communicate with them that you would like their nap to be capped at a certain time (an hour is perfectly reasonable) They should be open to this. as this won't be the first time they experience this. They will most likely still need your child to stay on their sleep space, but will provide some quiet toys and books for them!

Expect some sh*t

Even if your kiddo is showing all the signs of dropping their nap. It's still hard on their little bodies to go from getting a little rest mid-day to going full force all day. Remember those 5:00pm witching hours when they were little babies? They could come back (pre-school version) Try to keep things easy for you both and expect some overstimulated moments. Snacks, quiet games, dim lights as you head into the evening and DON'T be scared about an early bedtime. They need to make up for that lost sleep somewhere so you'll need to offer a bit more sleep for them overnight.

Sending you lots of support and patience during this transition, because this is exactly that. A transition that could take a little bit of time. If you're struggling with wondering if it's time, or need a bit more support through this transition, book a call HERE and lets talk about it!



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