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While the 2-1 nap transition is not the first nap transition your little one will go through, it can be one of the most challenging.  My daughter also just went through this transition, so it hits close to home. For us, it was most certainly not a walk in the park.  But with patience and consistency and some “what the heck” and “ugh she’s so tired” along the way, we successfully made it through!  Perhaps your little cutie has time before this transition begins or maybe you’re wondering if they’re ready to make the leap now.  Either way,  I want to dive a little deeper and share with you when the transition typically occurs, what it can look like for your child, and strategies to cope with the adjustment period to help you be prepared for the future or get through the process now.

When Does the 2-1 Nap Transition Happen?

The 2-1 nap transition most commonly occurs between 15-18 months of age, but every child is unique, and the timing may vary.  Some toddlers may be ready for the transition earlier, around 14 months, while others may continue with two naps until closer to 18 or even 20 months.  Sometimes your newly turned 1-year-old may show signs below but you want to try to preserve a 2 nap schedule as long as possible to prevent a premature transition and create an overtired child.

What does the 2-1 Nap Transition Look Like?

During the 2-1 nap transition, your child is going to gradually drop one of their daily naps, usually the morning nap (but not always!), and consolidate their daytime sleep into a single, longer midday nap.  Your child’s sleep needs are changing, so you need to adapt and change their schedule accordingly to one that will set them up for sleep success.

Signs that your child is ready for the 2-1 nap transition:

  • Resistance to the morning nap.  Your child may consistently start to fight or play through their morning nap.
  • Resistance to the afternoon nap:  Your child may love their morning nap but consistently take longer to fall asleep for the second nap or may resist it altogether.
  • Nighttime disruption:  Your child may start to have disrupted night sleep with night wakening or early morning rising.

*Wait to make the transition until your child is consistently showing signs of readiness for at least two weeks.* Start a sleep journal to help you keep track of your child’s sleep patterns and when they’re skipping naps.  (I used the ‘Notes’ app on my phone as a quick and easy place to jot down sleep notes.) 

What do I do if I’m consistently seeing the signs above?

  • Try to keep a 2-nap schedule as long as possible
    • If your child’s nap schedule is slightly later than usual (perhaps naps are now 10am and 2pm) but everything else is going well, continue this for as long as it works.
    • If your child is consistently skipping their afternoon nap, gradually shorten their morning nap to see if the second nap returns.  Start shortening the nap by 15 minutes every few days to help the second nap reappear.
  • If both of those don’t help, move full steam ahead and push your child to their new schedule with the midday nap starting at noon-1 pm.
    • It may seem that noon is impossible in the beginning but aim to get your little one to at least 11:30 am so they can get the most restorative sleep. 
    • Get your little one outside and exposed to sunlight as much as possible to help reestablish their circadian rhythm with the new desired schedule.
    • Naps may be short in the beginning, but they will improve! The goal is for the nap to be 2-3 hours.
    • Utilize an early bedtime to prevent your child from becoming overtired! 

Be patient with yourself and your little one.  While some children transition seamlessly, it may take others longer.  Stay consistent and keep moving forward. If you feel like you need extra, individualized support to get your child and family the quality sleep you all deserve, I am here for you. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out and book a free Discovery Call

While the 2-1 nap transition is not the first nap transition your little one will go through, it can be one of the most challenging. 

Hi there! I'm Maura, owner of Sleepable Solutions. I’m a mom, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and a certified pediatric sleep consultant. My passion is to educate and empower parents to help their children sleep through an individualized sleep plan based on a holistic, science-based approach.

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