Working out when your child will be dropping naps all together can be quite difficult. Talking to friends with children will give you varying answers on age and how they made the decision. Some people decide because their child was refusing naps or because it was affecting the bedtime routine, making it difficult to get their child to sleep at a reasonable time at night.
Age the transition is made.
In general, a child is ready to be dropping naps all together between the ages of 3 and 4 years old. To give you two personal examples: my oldest dropped naps at 3.5 years old and my youngest dropped his nap at 4 due to starting Pre K. My youngest could have continued for a lot longer given how he struggled, but the Pre K environment just wasn’t conducive to napping, unfortunately.
When not to drop naps.
If your child has been making you think the days of napping are drawing to a close because they are either fighting that nap or having trouble falling asleep you can always have an attempt at skipping the nap, but it is very important to pay attention to your child’s behavior. Is your child having difficulty coping? Has their behavior changed? If yes, this means that they likely still need that nap.
If your child has been trying to refuse that nap, but you know they still need it, then give them plenty of opportunities to wind down with quiet activities before nap time and maintain a consistent nap routine. This will help your child be prepared to relax and be more likely to drift off to sleep when nap time begins. If your child doesn’t fall asleep, at least they are laying down and having some rest, which will help them cope with the rest of their day.
What to do when you officially drop the naps.
Once you’ve made the decision that your child’s napping days are over make sure to continue offering quiet time so that your child can relax. You will need to bring bedtime earlier to compensate.
Every child will transition out of naps differently. Some may drop them all together quickly, while others may spend some time only napping on weekdays or napping every day or so. Find the pace that works best for your child, but don’t rush to drop those naps before your child is really ready as children who miss naps will not completely make up for it by sleeping longer at night.