2 to 1 Nap Transition

child sleeping snuggled with a teddy bear

When is your little one ready to transition from 2 naps to 1?

The 2 to 1 nap transition can be complicated and it can be on and off for a number of weeks so you need to be prepared.

It tends to happen between the broad range of 13-17 months.

Some little ones will show early signs with resisting one of their naps at around 12 months but this really is a bit too young to begin the transition. When they do show signs on the early side, it tends to be temporary and then they’re back to their two naps again for a while.

What are the signs?

Resisting one of the naps tends to be the first sign that your little one is preparing to drop to one nap but if your child is not a great napper anyway, this is going to be hard to spot. Keep a close eye on your child for signs of tiredness such as eye rubbing and yawning, clinginess and fractiousness. The last thing you want as this transition comes along is for your little one to be getting unnecessarily overtired.

How do you navigate this when they don’t sleep at the ideal times?

The two nap schedule should equate to around three hours of daytime sleep so when you drop down to one nap, it is likely to be one long one at first.

  • It may be as long as 3 hours and then settle to a more regular two and a half hours.
  • It sits best right in the middle of your little ones day with around 5 hours of awake time either side, for example, a baby waking at 6 a.m could nap from midday to 2.30p.m and then be asleep again for 7p.m.
  • Most little ones benefit from going to bed a little earlier when they are making the transition and this helps avoid any over tiredness as they adjust to managing the longer awake stretches during the day. This is especially helpful if your toddler isn’t managing the full 2 plus hours of nap time he or she really needs or if they nod off a bit too early and the afternoon is too long.

The main thing is to take each day as it comes and equip yourself to navigate this transition. Sometimes you will have a run of one nap days and then find a few days when two naps are required again and that’s a totally normal part of this transition.

And how long will this transition take?

Unlike the 3-2 nap transition which can take a week or two, this transition might take 4-6 weeks to fully work through. The main thing to remember is that your little one might need to top up on sleep here and there as he or she makes this transition and your aim is to avoid over tiredness.

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