stuck in the middle of 1 or 2 naps

it seems as though it’s just all of a sudden, with no warnings, that your little one starts to battle one of their naps and the transition from 2 naps to 1 is staring you in the face.  lets face it.  it’s the inevitable.  your quiet mornings sipping coffee and reading the newspaper or catching up one emails are over in a blink of an eye.   you know they still need to nap, but you also know they are developmentally and physically ready for a single afternoon nap. the idea of this transition sounds simple  seems as though it would be a smooth and easy flow.  that you would simply stop putting your little one down in the morning and just put them down after lunch for their long afternoon snooze.  sadly, it doesn’t always go like this.  many issues can arise while trying to build this new schedule.  sometimes they seem to want their single nap to be in the morning, which isn’t of course what you want.  sometimes they want to nap a short tiny nap in the am and then again in the afternoon but seem to battle you a bit for the afternoon sleep, as they didn’t need that morning snooze.  sometimes once you drop the one nap they do okay for a couple days and then they lose it leaving you wondering if they were actually ready for this transition or not.  making you doubt your decision and taking you back to square one.  this cycle of guess and check is sort of the never-ending hamster wheel ride we run while raising our kids.  parenting, more or less, leaves us in these sort of mind battles constantly.  making us wonder if we are doing the right things at the right times. 

well, breath deep.  you’re not alone in this sitation and there are some things you can do when you feel your little one is ready to leave the sacred 2 naps ground and enter the single afternoon nap territory.  

  1. for starters always make the single nap in the afternoon.  if you are finding it hard for your little one to stay awake post lunch try some or all of these suggestions that folllow
  2. take them out of the house to distract them.  not for a long car ride or a buggy ride or they are bound to fall asleep.  but rather, sign them up for a class that stimulates them or take them to the park.  by keeping them stimulated and occupied it keeps their minds of being so tired during the transition.
  3. every couple days let them have a short morning nap and wake them after about 45 minutes.   this small little catch-up nap will, in a sense, recharge their batteries!
  4. if you want their nap to be in and around 1 pm but they are too tired to make it past 11:30 or noon.  you can start the nap earlier and every couple of days stretch them 10-15 minutes longer until you reach a time closer to your optimal time.  keep in mind that you need to be flexible with the time and not set in stone that the clock must say 1 pm.  give or take 30 minutes depending on the day, what’s going on with your child at that point in time, etc.  life happens and sleep is about their cues and not the clock!

keep in mind that by putting them down earlier for the nap they will also want an earlier bedtime during this transitional phase.  be considerate of that and know that as you slowly stretch the nap time you can slowly stretch the bedtime.

rules of thumb:

  • don’t expect miracles over night
  • have patience with the process and your baby as they will be fussy and frustrated just as you are
  • you may have a good day and then some digression….this is totally normal
  • it takes a good 1-2 weeks for sleep issues to work out the kinks! 
  • every child is different so don’t compare yourself to others
  • do what works for you and your family!  that’s all that matters!

good luck during this new sleep phase and feel free to contact me via email or comment directly to the blog post for feedback from me and/or other readers!

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