So, you are pretty sure your child is ready to move on from their previous nap routine. What now? How can we make this easier…let’s be honest for everyone!!⠀
Before taking the plunge, maybe see if shortening the nap helps first. They may not be quite ready for a complete nap transition. This will in turn stretch out your child’s awake time, which is how nap transitions begin.⠀
Allow for flexibility. ⠀
The juggle is real! 3-2, 2-1, 1-0 and back again! Cold turkey can definitely work when ditching a nap but for some children, it can create excessive overtiredness. How you chose to transition is highly dependent on the quality of the other naps and your child’s night sleep. Overtiredness is not fun and can build up overtime, leading to one cranky, irritable child! A back and forth adjustment can go on for a couple of weeks and this is especially true for the 2-1 transition. You will reach the point where you have more days where they are missing the nap, allowing for a gentler adjustment. ⠀
Adequate time to rest. ⠀
Are they ready for bed at 4pm and you are dreading the next couple of hours? Get them out and about! Carrier, pram, short car ride can help them relax. Maybe give them longer in the bath if they enjoy it. If it’s a 2-1 or 1-0 transition, T.V maybe a great time waster if they are able to zone out for a little while when watching it. Let’s be realistic, it does have its benefits! ⠀
Bring bedtime earlier.
It’s ok during a transition to make bedtime earlier while your child adjusts. As they get more and more used to the change, (guided by their behaviour) you’ll be able to move bedtime back by 15 minutes every few days or so. ⠀
Change of scenery. ⠀
You may need to get out of the house for some distraction to help them stay awake! Be careful if you include a car ride here, as the older they get the more influence a power nap can have on the rest of the day….cue next nap refusal! ⠀
Consistent approach. ⠀
Not every day is going to be easy. It is important during this time you see it as a phase. It WILL pass so don’t try and second guess yourself and introduce new ways to settle. If they miss a sleep and you know they still need it, simply get them down earlier for the next nap or compensate with an earlier bedtime.