Nap time coming to an end? Say it ain't so. It's true those glorious stretches of time when your little one is snoozing don't last forever, but transitioning to no naps is part of the natural flow of growing up. Whether you have a little one who loves their daily Zs or a kiddo who seems to require only a small cat nap to refuel their tank, at some point every parent wonders "when should my child stop napping?" And, like most milestones and transitions, each child will organically make the shift to skipping daytime sleep when their little body is ready.
The older your child gets, the less sleep they need — both at night and when the sun's out. One of the biggest factors to consider when thinking about dropping naps all together is the amount of hours your child spends sleeping each night, as Baby Center explained. Measuring your toddler's overall sleep, in a 24 hour period, will help you decide if they need to keep their daily nap or if they will function well without it. Meeting their quota of time spent in dreamland means avoiding some of those cranky toddler moods that can erupt when they're running on fumes.
Typically, your child's nap schedule will evolve with each birthday, meaning the more candles they have to blow out, the shorter and sweeter those naps are becoming. According to Parents magazine, most kids stop napping around age 4, but this is just an average. The key to knowing when your child is ready to drop a nap is to look out for cues that they can rock it all day without needing breaks to snooze.
When discerning what's best for your little one's napping regimen, consider this advice from Ask Dr. Sears; "if your toddler doesn't seem tired or consistently fights sleep at what used to be his usual nap time, take it as an indication that he's ready to drop the nap." Additionally, if you notice your child is sleeping 11 to 12 hours every night, waking up in a good mood, and showing consistent behavior all day (without a nap), then she is ready to stop napping, according to Babble.
By monitoring your child's overall sleep and watching for readiness cues, you'll be able to pinpoint when she's ready to give up her naps. As sad as it is to see those quiet stretches of the day become a memory, take comfort in knowing your little one is growing and developing just as she should. And maybe on those rare days when you've been extra busy, you can both snuggle up for a midday snooze, for old time's sake.