NAPS!! They can be hard on babies but especially on parents. Questions like "are they old enough? How do I do it? How many and how long?!" I've heard it all and being a mom of two, I for sure had the same questions.
Before any nap transition, you'd want to troubleshoot and ask yourself these questions....
Is the room dark enough?
Is there white noise running all night long?
Is the room at the right temperature (68-72 degrees)?
Is baby old enough?
The first thing you want to do, is make sure they aren't going through a regression, so we want to see at least 6 weeks of nap issues. The most common signs are.....
Taking longer to fall asleep
Waking up early from their nap
Early morning wakings (before 6am)
Fighting the nap all together
Now that all those questions and signs have been answered, it's time to work on transitioning the naps.
The 3-2 Nap Transition
This transition usually occurs between 6-10 months of age. Once you're ready to drop that cat nap (last nap of the day), you can drop the nap cold turkey and most babies do well. Another option you have is to slowly wean them.
Here, you'd cap their nap at 30 minutes and then reduce it by 5-10 minutes every two days or so until the nap is completely gone. No matter what option you go with, you may need to put baby down for bed earlier than their scheduled bedtime until their body is adjusted to going through the day without that nap. Usually, a few days to a week and they're back on track.
The 2-1 Nap Transition
This transition usually occurs between the ages of 13-18 months of age. This one can be the hardest on parents and sometimes baby since it's a big change for them, so for that reason you would want to slowly get them down to one nap.
Set a goal for the new nap time (usually between 12-12:30 start time). Push back their morning nap back by 15 minutes every 1-2 days until you've reached their new nap time. You most likely will have to lay them down for the night a little earlier until they are adjusted.
Time To Drop The Nap All Together?!
I hear you! We want to keep that nap as long as possible! WE NEED IT!! I definitely kept my son on his nap longer than needed because I needed that time. After a few months of him being extremely cranky when woken up, it was time to drop it. But never fear! We replace that with quiet time!!
This transition can being anywhere between the ages of 3-5 years old with most dropping it sometime after turning 3.
The signs for this transition are a little different than the other signs:
Waking up cranky from their nap (like my son)
Taking over 30 minutes to fall asleep (like my son)
Refusing their nap all together
Their personality remains unchanged up until about 5pm or even later
Here, you can slowly wean them and hold onto that nap as best as you can (if they let you and if it works for you). Cap their nap at around 60 minutes and if they do great with that, keep it until it doesn't work anymore.
If it doesn't work, start reducing their nap time by 10 minutes to see if they do well.
Once you've said "so long" to the nap, replace that time with quiet time. Some toddlers need help adjusting to that, so a good tip is stay with them for a while and explain what's going to happen.
Also, having specific quiet activities just for quiet time helps them to not be bored since they only play with them once a day. You can even let them pick out which toys, and keep them out of sight until quiet time.
I hope this helps! I know how much changing a schedule can be inconvenient! If you need help with a schedule after the transition has been made you can purchase my sleep schedule guide that offers different schedules taking you up to 4 years of age. https://www.littleonessleepsociety.com/guides