Question! (and I hope it doesn't actually take three weeks to answer, but I promise not to wait that long to start tweaking!)
My 20 month old has been reluctant to totally drop to one nap, but I am sure this is why she now wakes up in the night more often, so I am NOT letting her sleep in the morning! However, you suggest that her taking only short naps, even when that is her only one, may be because she is staying up too long.
In this process of dropping the morning nap, what do you do with lunch? I have moved lunch a little earlier than her normal noon-time to get her down for a nap, but what if she is acting tired at 10:30 (or even earlier!)? Would you keep her up for another hour until lunch at 11:30? Would you put her to bed then and hope she doesn't wake up hungry? Would you feed her a snack and have a late lunch whenever she does wake up? I know you have lots of suggestions about trying earlier and later and have read most of your articles about weaning and transitioning but don't see anything about eating in conjunction with figuring out naps. This is the first big transition that has not gone easily for us within a few weeks. Thanks!
January 19, 2010 12:42 PM
Debbie, just a little anecdotal help from me. My daughter is 23 months and we went to one nap at about 18 months. She still acts tired around 10:30 or 11:00 am. However, I know from experience I have to keep her up until 1:00 (used to be 12:30) otherwise she'd only sleep for an hour. I try to give her a snack around 10 am and then we often get out of the house until lunch time around 12 to keep her happy. It's better now, but it was pretty hard to keep her up for a month or two. I hope Valerie will also have some good advice for you.
January 20, 2010 3:03 PM
Jennifer, thank you for your help! After only one day of trying to let her nap earlier, we went back to running errands or something until lunch so she could nap around 1 or 1:30. She has begun napping better - 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I am looking forward to hearing more, though, about sleeping all night again! I had thought that the nap transition would help that, but it hasn't. She wakes up at least once nearly every night and has for the last three months - ugh. Today I found the posts about toddler sleep problems and was glad to hear that many other parents have dealt with the same thing. It means we'll all make it through eventually! :) I guess the questions here, to follow up are the following . . . How much sleep do they need at different ages? When she goes to only one nap, and still sleeps the same 11-12 hours at night, is that enough? What else can you do in the night to keep the child from waking the house? What else could help to solve this besides working through the nap transition? I am sure that winter - less active playing time - doesn't help, but I don't know what else to try. We've tried earlier and later bedtimes, letting her cry longer to see if she'll go back to sleep on her own (she doesn't; she just gets really agitated and then bothers the upstairs neighbors and is much harder to calm down to sleep), more or less pajamas/blankets. She has always slept in a dark room, and there isn't much noise at night. I certainly have appreciated all of the help here - from Valerie and other parents!
February 2, 2010 2:47 PM
I would treat dropping the nap as a weaning process. Some days, she might need two. Others, just one.
If she was tired at 10:30, I would put her down for a morning nap--a short one. Maybe 1-1.5 hours. Then I would have lunch and put her down for an afternoon anp around 2 or so depending on when she was tired.
Another option is to take her out of the house so she can be distracted from being tired while her body adjusts to one nap.
I usually give my kids snacks around 10ish when they are down to one nap. That is our one snack of the day because we eat an early dinner.
February 3, 2010 10:57 AM
She should be getting about the same amount of sleep per 24 hours, so if going to one nap dropped daytime sleep, move bedtime up.
Watch for molars that can disrupt nighttime sleep, as well as nightmares.
February 3, 2010 11:00 AM
Also, if you would like, I can post your info as a help a reader out question for more reader input. Let me know.
February 3, 2010 11:00 AM
I don't mind. Especially after reading the post and comments about toddler sleep issues, this is a problem for many of us! Do you need more information?
For our part, she now naps most days after lunch for 2 hours. If she wakes up earlier, she will sometimes lie back down. We have had more full nights than interrupted and hope to keep working toward not waking at all in the night. Not perfect, but better! What a transition . . .
February 10, 2010 6:30 AM