Is My Child Ready To Drop Nap?

4 to 3 nap transition
Brianne Squires

Brianne Squires

Let’s talk about the dreaded 1-0 Nap Transition. Was anyone else in denial that their child was ready to drop nap?! My son was just shy of four years old when it was time to say goodbye to his last remaining nap. #RIPnap

Honestly, I probably let it go a little too long because I just wasn’t quite ready. (Read till the end for my hack on how to hold on to that precious mid-day alone time!)

In my opinion, this transition is not the hardest on the child, but oftentimes the hardest one for parents to accept, myself included. But I survived and you will too! Let me walk you through it.

How will I know when my child is ready to drop nap?

Most children are ready to drop their nap anywhere between their 3rd and 5th birthday. Some kiddos are ready right at 3 years old and others hold onto that nap for dear life until kindergarten!

When you start seeing one or more of these readiness signs your little one is likely ready to start this transition:

They can go all day without a nap

Pay close attention on no-nap days. If they are hanging in there around dinnertime, they may be nearing this transition. But if they are melting down in the late afternoons about the sky being blue, they likely still need that nap!

Naptime is pushing too late

If your child isn’t falling asleep until 2:00 pm or later they may be ready for no nap. This started happening with my son. He wouldn’t fall asleep as quickly, so nap was pushed later, which caused a much later bedtime…

Bedtime is pushing too late

If your little one is talking or playing for 1+ hours before falling asleep at night this can be a sign they had too much daytime sleep or the nap was way too late. This was a big indicator for us!

Bedtime drama ramps up

Uh oh…this one is NOT fun. I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted and ready to be “off the clock” post-bedtime. If your child is having a hard time settling at night, it may be because their sleep pressure hasn’t built up enough. They may begin calling for you multiple times and/or coming out of their room with all the excuses.

Night wakings and early morning wakings

If your child all of a sudden starts having night wakings or early morning wakings they are most likely ready to drop nap. It’s a big problem when daytime sleep starts to steal from nighttime sleep.

At this age, it is vital to protect nighttime sleep. Nighttime sleep is much more beneficial for your little one’s brain development, physical growth, and immune systems. Adequate nighttime sleep even improves their attention, learning and behavior.


A 3 to 5-year-old needs a solid 11 – 12 hours of sleep at night. It is not worth it to keep the nap when it is cutting in that amazing, restorative nighttime sleep!

How do I make this transition?

  1. Implement Quiet Time

Offering a daily quiet time is one of my favorite mama hacks! This is an important downtime for you and your little one.

Begin by offering this quiet time around 12:30 – 1:00 pm and for about an hour. Don’t insist on napping, but rather encourage quiet time in their rooms.

Check out these amazing quiet time boxes for some great activity ideas.

If your little one falls asleep during quiet time, limit their sleep to 30 – 45 minutes max. They might need a few little catnaps as they are fully adjusting!  

Stay consistent with offering this important downtime during the day even if it doesn’t go well at first. Stick with it and you will succeed. It is so worth it, trust me!

  1. Utilize an Early bedtime

For any nap transition, an early bedtime is key, but especially for this one.  An early bedtime will help your little one avoid that overtired state which causes more sleep issues.

As we moved through this transition with my son we moved bedtime anywhere between 30 – 60 minutes earlier, between 6:00 – 6:30 pm, based on his afternoon demeanor and sleepy cues.

Once better rested, you can begin pushing bedtime back to around 7:00 pm, in 15-minute increments each day.

  1. Be patient.

Okay, deep breaths! This transition took us a couple of weeks to master, which is totally normal. It’s a big change! Staying calm and consistent will help your little one adjust more quickly.

This is a big transition for everyone in the family, but you can do this! I hope these tips serve you well as you navigate the No-Nap Transition. RIP nap! 

If you need help with your child’s sleep, schedule a discovery call with us.

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