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When Do Children Stop Napping and What To Do Instead. No nap does not mean no break. This is when you add rest time.
Earlier this week, I discussed at length when do kids stop napping. It seems odd. You work so long and hard to get that solid baby sleep. You sacrifice to have that daytime sleep each day. You stay home so baby can get the sleep she needs. You time naps. You know the moment she falls asleep. You make sure the environment is such that baby can stay asleep. You make a lot of effort for naps.
So now it seems odd to wonder when is a child ready to stop napping. From one month old, you worked to keep naps. Now you are wondering when to stop naps?
When Do Children Stop Napping
Once your child is four years old, he or she will be ready to stop taking naps. Will your child need naps after age four? Sometimes. Most sleep for a child four years old or older can be achieved at night.
What to Do Instead of Naps
Once your child is done with nap time each day, you want to replace that afternoon nap with rest time. Your child will go from one nap a day to one rest time a day. Remember, toddler sleep is very important. A toddler is not ready to not nap each day. You still want an official nap schedule for toddlers and until about four years old. At that point, you move to rest time.
With that said, some families do move to rest time earlier than age four. Read Toddler Refuses to Nap? Implement Rest Time Rules Instead to read how this family made the transition as a two year old.
“I also wasn’t ready for that glorious toddler nap to be gone. I needed the quiet time for me as well!
Our daughter did, however, need a really big change to happen, because she was fighting the nap and it had suddenly become a battle.
Minor toddler nap time battles happen, but we had entered a massive battle phase that I just couldn’t take any longer.”
Only a parent can decide when their individual child is absolutely read to leaven nap time behind. Be sure it is a parent decision and not a parent reaction to a child. Do not drop sleep before your child is ready to drop sleep. I love this thought in the article Rest Time for Preschoolers:
“Preschool-aged children still need a lot of sleep. These kids range from age 3 to 5 and should be getting 10 to 13 hours of sleep at night, and they might need additional daytime sleep.
With busy schedules, kids can end up going to bed later than would be ideal. And in order to get everyone up and where they need to be in the morning they have to wake up earlier too. This makes the finding quiet rest time even more important.
The most important thing is to look at your child’s age and sleep needs, not just what school level they are at.”
Why Do Rest Time?
You might be wondering, can’t I just drop the nap without rest time? I give reasons why you want rest time in How to Do Rest Time Instead of Naps. Rest time allows for a break for the entire family. This allows time to recharge, to pause, and to reset. Rest time can be done so long as the child lives at home really, so rest time can benefit long term as needed. I love the benefit of rest time listed in Rest Time for Older Children:
“Children have more pressure on them today than ever before. School is exhausting. More and more often downtime as school is being minimized in order to squeeze in more time for further academics. Our children have 20 minutes for lunch and 15 minutes for recess! That is barely 30 minutes out of a 7 hour day for any sort of break.
Establishing a consistent rest time allows the child to plan for this time. A break. A chance to breathe and feel refreshed. It not only makes a huge difference in their ability to function the rest of the day, but also in their overall attitude and demeanor towards others in the family unit.”
When it is time for your child to stop napping, it is not time for your child to stop resting. Add in some rest time each day that you can. Be sure to respect bedtime so your child still gets enough sleep in a 24 hour period. Rest time is a great way to give opportunity for naps if it is needed while not requiring a nap each day.