By the age of 4, you're child is rounding the corner to kindergarten. With this milestone inching closer each day, you may start thinking about how to prepare your little one for this leap to longer days away from home. Unless you have one of those rare birds who loves long naps and still goes to bed happily every night, you've probably noticed your child's sleep habits changing. This is an age when kids begin to set new rhythms. But how often should 4 year olds nap? As any mom knows, this transitional age can be unpredictable.
Working out the right amount of sleep for this age gets a little tricky — it's not as cut and dry as some of the other ages which have firm sleep recommendations. According to Parents magazine, "studies show that many children stop taking naps at around age 4, but some experts say that may be too soon." It seems that during this phase, kids will most likely listen to their body and nap when the feeling strikes. This means some 4 year olds will nap one day, but the not the next and start to take shorter naps sporadically throughout the week, as Today's Parent explained.
When considering what's best for your 4 year old, take a look at their overall day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that kids age 4 sleep for 10 to 13 hours each day. If your child is slumbering this long every night, she's probably on track to drop those regular naps. However, you'll also want to take into consideration other signs of readiness. If your child's behavior and mood is fine in the afternoon without napping, it's a good indicator that a nap is no longer necessary, according to Ask Dr. Sears. Additionally, if your little one resists naps and can't seem to settle, it's also their way of telling you her body can handle longer stretches of awake time.
It's seems the key to understanding naps and 4 year olds,is to break up with those strict sleep schedules of the past, and allow nature to take its course. If you have a child who still loves to nap at 4 and is happy and healthy, let them snooze away. But if your toddler is done with the midday shut-eye on the regs, she'll still listen to her body cues and doze off when needed. There's no one normal expectation and this age, so do your best to roll with the changes as they come.