By the age of two, most children have stopped taking their morning nap and are down to one. By the age of four, most children have stopped taking naps altogether. But how do you know when it’s the right time to say they no longer need a nap?
One of the most important factors is the total amount of sleep your child gets. Children generally need a total of 12 hours of sleep per day. This can come all at once or in segments. If your child sleeps 10 hours each night, two naps of one hour each are probably necessary. If a child starts getting all of their 12 hours of sleep at night and doesn’t feel like taking a nap, he or she might not need one.
Since all children aren’t exactly the same, the 12 hours isn’t always etched in stone. If your child is two years of age, they can need from 11.5 up to 15.5 hours of sleep. At three years of age, 11 to 14 hours can be appropriate. At four years of age, 10 to 13 is needed and at five years of age, 10 to 12.5 hours will usually suffice.
Often, a child will stop taking naps and then start taking them again due to a change in routine, such as entering preschool. Preschool can be exciting and your child may become tired after he or she gets home.
The Transition Period
If your child is sleeping less than the suggested hours necessary during the night, then you will want to get them to take a nap. Often, though, especially as they start to get more aware and curious about their world, they will stay so busy and excited that they don’t have time to sleep and can’t fall asleep if they try to take a nap.
It can be helpful to have the child nap in his or her bed because it is already associated with sleep. If your child won’t take a nap, try enforcing some “quiet time” and point out that he or she will have more energy later by resting now.
Most of all, just remember that one size nap does not fit all.