When do kids stop napping? While it’s not the same for everyone, there are some helpful guidelines for how to stop napping for kids and toddlers.
A nap can do wonders for a cranky toddler.
But there may come a day when the nap just won’t happen, no matter how hard you try.
So, exactly when do toddlers stop napping? Let’s take a look.
While naps can be a treasured part of your day at any phase of life, they are particularly important for very young kiddos.
Increasingly, studies suggest that daytime napping can have a variety of positive effects, from improving cognitive function and emotional processing to boosting immune function.
But knowing whether your kid is getting the daytime zzz’s they need is not always that simple.
When do babies transition to one nap? When do kids drop naps altogether?
(Seriously. How are we just supposed to know these things?)
In this article: 📝
- When do babies stop napping?
- When do toddlers stop napping?
- At what age do children stop napping?
- Signs your toddler is ready to stop taking naps
- How to stop napping
- When do kids stop napping? The last word
When do babies stop napping?
One thing newborns love to do more than anything else is sleep.
They’re so good at it, in fact, that they usually get between 14 and 17 hours of shuteye a day.
As they transition further into babyhood, they start to keep their eyes open for more of the day, transitioning to a nighttime sleep and about two daytime naps a day.
If you’re keen to find out how much babies tend to sleep as they’re growing up, here are our handy sleep schedule guides:
- 1 month old
- 2 months old
- 3 months old
- 4 months old
- 5 months old
- 6 months old
- 7 months old
- 8 months old
- 9 months old
- 10 months old
- 11 months old
- 12 months old
When to drop a nap
So we know that babies sleep a lot, but when will they be ready to drop their daily naps to 2 or 1?
Well, every baby is different, with different bodies, different temperaments, and different sleep needs (let’s not forget about sleep regressions!), but here’s a rough guide:
When do babies drop to 2 naps?
So, first off, when do babies transition to two naps during the day?
This usually happens at about 6-9 months old, with baby taking a nap in the morning and the afternoon (around 1-2 hours each), along with sleeping in the night.
When do babies transition to one nap?
So when do babies go to one nap from two?
Generally speaking, when asking “when do babies switch to one nap”, it tends to happen at around 10-21 months old.
Dropping from 2 naps to 1 typically involves going from one morning and one afternoon nap before bedtime to just the mid-afternoon nap.
Signs baby is ready for one nap
So how do you know when to drop to one nap?
There are a few signs baby is ready for one nap in the day to keep your eyes open for (pun intended):
- They’re fighting one of their naps (usually the morning nap).
- They wake up earlier than usual ‒ either from their evening “big sleep” or their morning nap.
- They’re struggling to take one of their naps for about two weeks.
When do toddlers stop napping?
Toddler sleep needs can vary from child to child.
Most toddlers will stop napping between the ages of 3 and 5 ‒ although some toddlers may be younger and some may be older.
However, the National Sleep Foundation recommends toddlers get about 11 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour span, and preschoolers about 10 to 13.
There are also many different mama schedules with lots of moving parts, like childcare, work routines, and social commitments.
That means a one-size-fits-all nap routine is hard to come by.
That being said, there are some common napping patterns that are useful to know so that you can structure a sleep schedule that works for both you and your little peanut.
When do toddlers stop napping twice a day?
Somewhere between the 12 and 21-month mark, your baby will be like, Nah, don’t need this whole double nap thing anymore.
And they will probably start decreasing their naps to one a day.
And then, at some point in their late toddlerhood, they may show signs that this whole daytime napping enterprise is not for them.
So, at what age do toddlers stop napping? Well, it’s just not the same for everyone.
At what age do children stop napping?
So, now we know about when do babies drop to 2 naps and dropping from 2 naps to 1, what about when to drop a nap completely?
As in, baby sleeps through the night with no naps during the day.
Well, there’s no single answer for when do kids stop napping altogether, but we do have some average ages from our mamas of Peanut.
Is it OK for a 2-year-old not to nap?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine for a 2-year-old not to naps at all.
This could be about the time they start to resist their daytime nap, whether it’s in the morning or afternoon.
But even if your toddler is fighting their daytime nap, that may mean that they’re still not quite ready to stop napping completely.
Give skipping their daytime nap a go and see how it affects their behavior ‒ if they’re still fighting sleep in the evening and having toddler tantrums around bedtime or naptime, it might still be a little early for them to stop napping.
Does a 2-year-old need a daytime nap?
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.
If you think it could be time to try skipping the daytime nap for your 2-year-old, give it a go and see how they behave.
If they’re acting up and generally fighting sleep, even with a bedtime routine, it could be worth still keeping one daytime nap in their sleep schedule for a little longer.
How long should a 2-year-old nap?
Most 2-year-olds tend to nap for about 2 hours per day, either across two daytime naps (morning and afternoon) or one.
Then, they get the rest of their 10-12 hours’ sleep in the evening.
What to do when 2.5-year-old won’t nap?
At 2 and a half years old, your little one may be growing out of their daytime naps.
But they also might not be.
If your little one is still overtired during the day after fighting their daytime nap, try implementing a bedtime routine.
We know it can be tough getting a toddler to take a nap when they don’t want to (even if it’s for their own good!), but perseverance here is key.
Starting a calming routine can take time, so don’t expect it to work straight away.
Does a 3-year-old need a nap?
Why won’t my 3-year-old take a nap?
The answer, however frustrating, is that some 3-year-olds do need a daytime nap and others don’t.
Some kids want to ditch the nap as early as 2 years old, while others keep it going until they are five.
There’s really no one way to do this.
One of the awesome things about 3-year-olds is that they rarely keep their feelings a secret.
If they’re not into the whole daytime napping thing anymore, they usually have ways of communicating this.
Does a 4-year-old need a nap?
Possibly ‒ some 4-year-olds can take daytime naps for a good few years.
You’ll know your little one best ‒ keep an eye out for signs of overtiredness and test skipping the daytime nap for a few days to see how they react.
Does my 5-year-old need a daytime nap?
While it’s not all that common, some 5-year-olds do still take afternoon naps.
Every child is different, with different sleep needs.
But usually, if a 5-year-old is taking a daytime nap, it’ll usually last about 30 minutes, rather than a full 1-2 hours, like for a baby or toddler.
Is it normal for a 6-year-old to nap?
Most 6-year-olds don’t need an afternoon nap, but that’s not to say it’s not normal.
After all, normal is whatever works for you and your child.
If your 6-year-old benefits from a daytime nap in addition to a full night’s sleep, then you do you, mama.
Should a 7-year-old nap?
Generally, most 7-year-olds tend to get the sleep they need in the evening ‒ around 9-12 hours per night.
Some 7-year-olds still take naps during the day, but if they’re at school, it can be a little harder to keep up with those naps.
Signs your toddler is ready to stop taking naps
So how do you know when your toddler is ready to stop napping?
Well, there are some tell-tale signs, according to our veteran mamas of Peanut.
1. Naps and their bedtime routine are no longer friends
If bedtimes are getting tricky, it may be time to change up the sleep schedule.
Naps can make bedtime a lot less appealing.
If they can go to sleep easily at night without having a nap in the day, that’s likely a sign that you can nix the nap.
If they go without a nap but then are too overtired to sleep well at night, it may be worth holding on to the napping routine a little longer.
Warning: there may be a little trial and error here.
2. They wake up earlier in the morning
If they are getting up way earlier than normal, this may also be a sign that they don’t need a nap anymore.
3. They’re not doing the daytime doze
If your child is nodding off during the day or acting sleepy, it may be too soon to get rid of the nap.
If, on the other hand, they’re wide awake throughout the day, it’s likely they may not need that nap after all.
4. The meltdowns are minimal
Many a meltdown (in children and adults alike) is because of a shortage of sleep.
If their mood is generally stable through the day, that’s a sign that the nap is not as necessary.
5. They are fussy at naptime
If they are not too keen to lie down, it might be a sign that they no longer want the nap as part of their daily routine.
How to stop napping
If you’ve decided that it’s time to start to phase out the daytime nap, here are our top tips from our Peanut mamas:
- Phase-out naps gradually. Don’t go cold turkey on this one. There will be an adjustment period before your new routine kicks into gear. Shortening nap times and/or alternating days can be useful. Over this time, you can adopt the philosophy of Nap on Demand—let them let you know when naps are needed. The transition phase can take a few weeks or a few months.
- See if you need to introduce an earlier bedtime. Without the daytime nap to keep them going, they might be ready for their evening slumber a little sooner.
- Replace nap times with rest times. In the time that they would be napping, give them some quiet time to enjoy. Books and calming music can be a great idea.
- Know that sleep regression is a thing. Is your two-year-old suddenly rising early, not sleeping through the night, or showing strong opposition to bedtime? That doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to drop their nap. It might just be the two-year-old sleep regression.
- Bedtime routines are your new best friend. Yes, it can take time (bedtime routines can’t work miracles), but implementing and sticking to a bedtime routine can get your toddler’s headspace in the right place for their evening sleep.
When do kids stop napping? The last word
Ultimately, it’s worth keeping in mind that there is so much going on in your little one’s new world and so much that they are learning to do.
Turning off from all of that excitement can be difficult.
Don’t worry, this too shall pass, and your toddler might go back to their nap in a few days or weeks.
If you’re at all worried about your child’s sleep schedule, chat with your healthcare provider.
And know that navigating all the demands of life and parenting can be challenging—particularly when you are not always operating on optimal sleep amounts yourself.
You’re not alone. Reach out to your Peanut community for support.
Wishing you all a restful sleep on a schedule that works for you.
😴 More on baby sleep from The 411:
Managing The 4-Month Sleep Regression: Your Expert Guide
What to Know About the 12 Month Sleep Regression
How Safe Is Co-Sleeping?
How to End Co-Sleeping: Your Quickfire Guide
Baby Sleep Temperature Guidelines to Follow
How Many Swaddles Do I Need?
When Can a Baby Sleep With a Blanket?
When to Stop Using a Sleep Sack for Your Baby
Is White Noise for a Baby Good?
How to Dress Baby For Sleep
How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib
Tips for Moving from Crib to Toddler Bed
What to Do When Your Baby Cries in Their Sleep