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When to drop that morning nap?

You finally have your family on a great nap "routine/schedule" and booomm....something happens! Why is my child not sleeping in the morning?  Why are they "fighting" this so badly??? Am I doing something wrong?  

Does this sound familiar? are not alone.   

Many of the families that I work with are concerned when their little one will not sleep in the morning anymore.  Rest assured that this is completely NORMAL.

Most children start dropping their first nap (morning) around 15 months of age.  Some are as soon as 13 months and some as late as 18 months.  It really all depends on your child and the quality of sleep they are getting. The main goal is to try and offer the morning nap as long as possible to ensure that they are not overtired before bedtime. There is a Developmental Leap that comes around 46 weeks

(approx. 11 months) and some parents may confuse this with it is time to drop the morning nap. Stay the course through this Leap and keep offering it to make sure they are getting the rest they need.

(To read more about Developmental Leaps check out "The Wonder Weeks" by Dr. Frans Plooij)

So the question is...."How do I know when my child is ready to drop the morning nap?"

Here are some signs to look for:

  • Your child will take a long time to fall asleep for the morning nap and you might also see the nap will start to shorten in length.

  • Your child may play in their crib the entire time of the nap and still be happy and rested until nap two arrives.

  • Your child refuses to take their second nap

  • The pattern of behaviour is at LEAST 10 days in a row.

The next big question is: "How do I do this without having my child exhausted during the day?"

One suggestion is to start capping your child's morning nap (if taking a longer one). Decrease the time to an hour to preserve the afternoon nap.  

If you have a child that is not napping at all in the morning, and cannot make it to their afternoon nap time, it is best to move the afternoon nap time.  Start by moving the afternoon nap up to about 11am for the short term.  Slowly increase the timing towards a 12:30/1pm nap time as your child is able to stay awake for longer periods of time during the day.  The main goal is to not let them become overtired so keep a close eye on their sleep cues and adjust accordingly.

Don't forget to keep their bedtime around 3.5 hours after they wake from their nap.  This means for a while bedtime will be a bit earlier until you have adjusted that afternoon nap to the time frame of 12:30pm /1pm.  

Happy napping!!!!


Parents from all over the world visit Babes & Beyond site each month to find solutions for their children’s sleep problems. - See more at:

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