Ask Kat: Drop a Nap
As the mum of three small boys, an expert in baby products and a no-nonsense parent, resident blogger Kat Armstrong always seems to be called upon by friends, family and strangers to answer tough parenting questions. We thought it was high time she shared this knowledge with you, and her series Ask Kat was born. If you have questions for Kat, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you drop a nap with your child? How do you know your child is ready to drop a nap?
Sleep is always so mad-making, isn’t it? How many naps should your child have? How much sleep? Why do they wake? Questions I hear over and over again. As young adults, we really don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. Remember waking up at 10:30, and going for brunch at 1? Yeah, me neither.
What I’ve found has always worked well for us is the following: once the child had a hard time going to bed at night (took longer than about 20 minutes give or take to fall asleep), I knew it was time to drop the latest nap. For the babies that meant between 4-6 months, we dropped the third nap. For the toddlers, we dropped the second nap around 14 months and for my eldest, we dropped his nap at two and his middle brother, 2.5.
What we did for these was to shift bedtime slightly earlier than they were doing. We found that for us, it worked to have this happen pretty quickly. Some have more success slowly shifting these times. We have also found that when our kids drop their naps, it’s altogether a better idea to have them go to bed far earlier than you would expect. Our 2.5 year old goes to bed every night between 6:30-7pm, and our 5 year old between 7:30-8. They both sleep usually until about 7am.
I know it’s very hard to get the kids to bed so early, especially with modern work schedules, but if one of the parents can’t always be around for this early bedtime, it’s time for the morning patrol.