Wondering when kids stop napping? Learn when kids stop napping and if it’s time to transition your little one out of their afternoon snooze.

little boy awake in bed

As your little one starts to drop naps and grow into toddlerhood, you may find yourself wondering: when do kids stop napping altogether?

When your little one was a baby the more daytime rest they got, the better they’d sleep at night. Sleep begets sleep in those early days.

But as babies grow into toddlers and even big kids, that afternoon nap can often interfere with bedtime and even interfere with sleep in middle of the night.

Let me help you determine if your child is ready to drop the nap and how you can make that transition.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll:

  • Learn the most common ages kids stop napping
  • Learn the signs it’s time to drop the nap completely
  • Understand if your child is ready to stop napping
  • Learn tips that will help your child nap if they still need one
  • Know how to tackle the 1-to-0 nap transition

What is the Average Age Kids Stop Napping?

Most kids still need a nap up until they are 3 or 4 years old (source). I recommend doing what you can to keep a daily nap in your schedule until then.

Around age 4, your 4 year old’s sleep schedule will change and they won’t need the daytime sleep anymore.

Is it Okay for A 2-Year Old Not to Nap?

Many 2 year olds go through a two year old nap strike, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to drop naps altogether.

If your two-year-old has suddenly started fighting nap time, you’re not alone. We went through the same thing when our daughter was two, and I was not ready to give up my midday me-time!

Many toddlers experience a 2 year sleep regression, but it can actually happen anytime between the ages of 2 and 3.

But just because your toddler is fighting his nap, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to make the transition. Daytime sleep is still very important for your two-year-old’s overall sleep health.

2 Year Old Sleep Schedule

Your 2 year olds sleep schedule should include 1–2.5 hours of daytime sleep as well as 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep, giving them 12 to 14.5 hours of sleep total in a 24-hour period.

2 year old sleep schedule with naps

Does My 3-Year-Old Need a Nap?

Some 3 year old’s still need a nap, but it might be time to reduce the length of their nap if they’re having sleep trouble.

If you’ve tried reducing the nap and your 3 year old is still struggling, they may be ready to drop their nap.

After they turn 3, they typically don’t need a nap as long as they are getting enough sleep at night.

One way to tell if your child is ready to drop their nap completely is to watch your child’s mood and behavior on days they don’t nap. Can they make it to at least 5 p.m. without having a total meltdown?

If your child is having a hard time making it to the late afternoon or dinner time without a nap, they may not be ready to drop their nap completely.

On the other hand, if your child is in a good mood in the evening without a nap, they may be ready to make the transition.

You can see a sample 3 year old schedule below.

3 year old sleep schedule

How Do You Know Your Toddler is Ready to Stop Napping?

Look for these signs to know if your toddler is ready to reduce or drop their nap:

Before dropping the nap altogether, ask yourself this: Can your child make it to at least 5 p.m. without having a total meltdown?

If your child is having a hard time making it to the late afternoon or dinner time without a nap, they may not be ready to drop their nap completely.

Tips to Help Your Toddler Nap

If you’ve determined that your child isn’t ready to drop the nap, but they’re fighting their nap constantly, let me help you get them some sleep.

Here’s what you can do to help get your child’s naps back on track.

Minimize Distractions in Their Room

Toddlers are busy and action-oriented. Sometimes it’s hard for them to take a break from the action—the FOMO is real!

To help your toddler wind down for nap time, make sure that their sleep space is calm, dark, and free from distractions.

Kid’s blackout curtains and a white noise sound machine can do wonders to shut out the brightness and bustling sounds of daytime activity.

It’ll also be worth your while to remove or minimize distractions in their room during nap time, especially if they’ve already transitioned to a toddler bed.

The fewer toys within sight or reach, the more likely your toddler will be able to settle their body down for rest instead of seeking something to play with.

Make it a part of the nap time routine to clean up toys together. It will signal a transition from active play to rest time.

Hatch rest and bedtime book

Use an Okay-To-Wake Clock

Toddlers don’t know what time it is. Consider incorporating an okay-to-wake clock into the nap routine to help them understand when it’s time to rest.

I really like the Hatch Rest or Rest Plus because it can be programmed with bedtime and nap time schedules. You can set it so the light turns one color when it’s sleep time, and another color when sleep time is over.

Use role play with your child when introducing the okay to wake clock to help them grasp the concept and buy-into the idea!

You can also give them some control by letting them pick out the sound or color that they’ll wake up to once nap time is over.

Use a Nap-Time Sleep Training Technique

Sleep training isn’t just for night time. And just because you’ve already sleep trained your little one before, it doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate new sleep training methods when you hit new sleep snags.

Here are some of the most effective toddler sleep training methods for this age.

Create a Rewards System for Napping

Never underestimate the power of incentivizing your toddler to stay in bed and really give nap time a chance. Your toddler is old enough now to understand rewards, so this is a good time to try some out!

Sticker charts can be a great motivator for kids at this age. They give your toddler something to work towards, whether it’s a prize, privilege, or adventure.

Make sure the reward is something that is innately motivating for your toddler. Avoid using negative consequences or punishment in relation to building better sleep habits.

little boy playing with blocks since dropping his nap

How to Transition to No Naps

Transitioning to no naps isn’t always a cold-turkey process, and the one-to-none nap transition can be a little rocky for you both.

As your child stops napping, they may take occasional naps, especially on busy days. In the beginning of the transition, they may need an afternoon nap every few days.

As your child’s sleep decreases and they start to drop their nap, make sure to implement an earlier bedtime as their body adjusts to the lack of sleep during the day. It’s a good idea to move bedtime up by 60 minutes in the beginning to avoid over tiredness.

Something we did to ease the transition from napping to a no-nap schedule was introduce the concept of quiet time.

During quiet time, you provide your toddler with books and/or quiet time toys and activities for self-directed play in their room. The difference between quiet time and self-guided play throughout the day is that you control when quiet time begins and ends.

Quiet time is a great way for your toddler to still have a midday reset and get a little R&R, but also gives them the autonomy to choose what they do with this time. It provides a little break for everyone.

It’s perfect for kids who are ready to assert some independence, and who can make it to bedtime without a no-nap meltdown.

Quiet time also gives you the same midday break so everyone keeps a bit of rest time in their day!

Need more help with your child’s sleep?

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The Big Bed Blues course walks you through the process of getting your 2–5-year old to sleep in their own bed for 10–12 hours every night. End the power struggles and sleepless nights once and for all with the Big Bed Blues Course.

If you have a question about your child dropping their nap, drop it below!

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