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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz.
Now let’s sleep together. Hello, thanks for tuning in to the kids sleep show. My
name is Courtney Zentz. appreciate you joining me today we are chatting about nap transitions, which is a very hot topic, especially that first year life as your little one is going to be growing and changing ever so frequently. So in the discussion around nap transitions, there’s kind of a lot of different ways that folks transition through the naps. Sometimes it’s by default, meaning you know, your little ones at daycare, and daycare does it for you. And that’s beautiful. They did it for my kids. Sometimes as a parent, if you are home like the whole world is right now you’re just unsure when your little one should be moving to kind of one less nap. And ultimately what that looks like. So I’m going to take you through the evolution of the first year as it relates to nap transitions, how to recognize each of those major transitions, and then ultimately how we get to a basic day where there are no naps needed. So I’m gonna break it out with the first part of this segment talking about really the first four months of life, okay, and it’s going to be a very general statement around the first four months of life because frankly, it’s really hard at this age to put a baby on a set schedule. The biggest thing that you want to look at as far as the daytime hours and your naps go, the first four months of life is really that you’re catering to the awake windows, making sure that your little one is going down at the right awake windows timing, right? Because if your little one is struggling to take good naps or fighting to go down or crying those first couple months of life, it’s usually because they’re overtired. Right, so when a baby’s born, so say a month, you know zero through probably about six weeks, the awake window for your little one should be 45 to 60 minutes, somewhere around six weeks, you can kind of go 60 to 90 minutes. And then somewhere around four months, you’re looking at about two hours, five months, two and a half hours, six months, you’re looking at about three hours of awake time, right? So when you’re trying to structure those naps for the first four or so months, you don’t want to look at like the number of naps, your little ones taking you want to make sure you’re monitoring the awake windows, you’re gonna have some naps, that maybe 90 minutes other naps that may be 40 or 20. You know, totally normal, right? the consolidation of naps typically starts to happen around four months of age. And there’s some reasons biologically for that, right, the first four months of life, your little one is sleeping in two stages of sleep, REM sleep and non REM sleep about 50% of the time. And really, that’s the only time in their life where that’s ever going to happen. Okay, between three and four months, the transition from sleep stages like that to cycles of sleep that they’re going to really keep through adulthood is where that transition takes place often, where a lot of people find that common for monthly progression, because the habits biologically are, are kind of ingrained. There’s some things happening in the body, all this different stuff is sort of this perfect storm around four months of age, right. So from a nap transition standpoint, between four and six months of age, typically children are moving from four naps to three naps in a day. And if you’re unsure what a D a day should look like for you, I encourage you to go out to my website. And there is a slider at the top with like a whole bunch of different stuff. And one of them in there is a schedule generator, go out and generate this schedule. It’s a sample for what your baby’s day should look like for that particular age. That’ll help you to kind of gauge where you’re going after you listen to this show. It’s also out on my Instagram, you can follow me It’s tiny transitions,
and there’s a link in my profile on Instagram as well.
as it relates to kind of that four to five months you’re looking at, or excuse me, yeah, about four to five months, you’re looking at typically like four to three naps, right? And so you’re going to move from the four naps to three naps and you’re going to have to
when it’s time to make that transition. Okay. Typically what starts to happen is for every time a nap transition is going to take place, you’re going to notice that the last nap of the day is typically the one that struggles they fight, they don’t go down, they sleep for 10 minutes. That is usually your cue to move down one nap, right. So I’ll give you Good examples, somewhere around five months, you should be on three naps a day pretty much through about six, six and a half months. At that point, then between six and seven months, it makes sense to move to two naps a day, right, your awake window shifts out to three hours, your typical day for a six to seven month old is going to be a two nap 1030 or 10 o’clock, excuse me and 230 type a nap with a bedtime of seven and a wake time of seven, right? As you progress to go from those two naps down to one nap, you may say okay, that’s a really big transition. When do I do that? daycares I can tell you we’re going to go from two to one nap. When your child goes into the one year old room, right? They start sleeping on a mat, they’re all the little kids are doing it together. And they kind of make the adjustment for you, which frankly, is like the greatest thing in the world, they did it for both of my kids. But if your little one is at home with you, and you’re kind of unsure when to make that transition, the age appropriate time to move to one nap a day is somewhere between I say 12. And I’ll give you 15 months, but I actually find that a little on the the higher end. But somewhere between there, you’re going to notice that that second nap of the day is just not happening or what used to be like this sweet, solid 90 minute nap, all of a sudden is turned into a dumpster fire and it’s 25 minutes long. Okay, so now you’ve got a pissed off child waking up from a nap crying, which means they’re tired. They now go into bed time overtired, and then you’re dealing with a messy night and early morning wakings as a result, so if that is your situation, and like your little one, all of a sudden started waking early, you don’t know what’s going on. It’s usually that time to transition because by fixing the nap, you’re gonna fix things like the early morning waking, and the bedtime. It’s timing issues, right? It’s body clock and timing. And it’s a perfect storm of balance when it comes to their particular age. So, you know, if you’re kind of unsure, go out and generate a schedule for all the different ages. And then you have sort of what that looks like. And then I do have a blog post on nap transitions. That can be super helpful for you as well. As far as how to make the adjustment when you’re looking to move from, you know, two naps down to one nap a day. It’s really the hardest transition, frankly, that you’re going to make, because you’re going to have a little one getting up between six and seven in the morning, and having to go to like 1230. And it’s a really large jump from where they are today. So in order to make that transition feasible, what you want to look at is every day trying to push the morning nap out, right, your end goal is about 1230 for one nap a day. And if you’re currently at like 10 o’clock, you’ve got quite some time to get there, right. So set a goal for yourself or like every two days, you’re going to move things out about 15 minutes, right until you get to that 1230 sometimes using food to get there meaning, you know, letting your little one eat and play with some Cheerios or avocado or applesauce or whatever you’re into. Getting them outside having them sit and play in the grass, like things that are sensory will typically keep them awake longer and a bit easier than if you’re like well, I
went to the bathroom and put them in the swing. And then they fell asleep. Like Well, obviously that’s motion sleep, so they’re going to fall asleep. So try to do some things that keep them kind of active and engaged. And that’s going to make it the easiest to push them. You know out to that like 1230 ideal nap time. Okay, making that pushes about 15 minutes every day. And then what happens is you’re going to end up in the afternoon, where you’re still going to need a little bit of a power nap. And if they’re willing to take it, go for it right and it can even be a supported nap, you go for a walk, you hold them whatever you have to do to just take the edge off for like 20 to 30 minutes, just to get him get them to a bedtime of about seven o’clock. If you are unable to do that, or they refuse that second nap. And the closer you get to that 12 o’clock, they will start to refuse the second nap. You basically want to just err on putting them down for bed a little bit early 30 to 45 minutes down for the night. Yes, they will fall asleep at 630 Yes, they will sleep till seven The next day, do not worry about that you are basically just making up with that little bit of extra sleep for that gap in the nap timing. So you’re making sure you’re filling their cup with the recommended amount of sleep in a given 24 hour period. So hopefully that makes sense. That again, that nap transition from two naps to one nap is really the biggest one that you’re going to make. Okay, the next transition after that is going to be when you say what is the right age, I should drop a nap right? How do we know when my little ones going to drop it? I can tell you I’ve worked with clients that have two and a half year olds that don’t nap anymore. I’ve worked with two year olds that don’t nap and then go back to napping. I’ve worked with three year olds that do or don’t nap there’s no right age. I mean my daughter’s four and I still forced her to nap and you know she she does pretty good. I would say like eight out of 10 days especially be at home at daycare. She sleeps every day. But right now, that’s just not possible with obviously all the COVID stuff going on. So every family is different. I don’t care if they take a nap or not as long as they’re a pleasant human being to be around, and they’re getting the right amount of sleep, right. So some kids will drop the nap at two and a half, but they sleep 13 hours at night, that’s fine. That’s totally within the American Academy of sleep medicines recommendations. Other kids are, you know, a little bit better personality wise, if they get a bit of a snooze during the day. You know, and so that’s going to work best for your family. Okay, as long as they’re getting the sleep, and they’re managing through it, okay, it’s totally fine. I do find that there are some children that are kind of between two and three, they start to push the envelope, they’re pushing boundaries. And they are really trying to figure out if they have to nap if mommy and daddy are going to make them nap, right? I do say to enforce quiet time, because usually, if quiet time is boring enough, they’re going to take a nap. Quiet Time does not mean sticking them on a tablet in front of a fort or something because they’re not going to fall asleep, right but encouraging them to color. Or to do some puzzles or you know, read a book or picture book, whatever it may be, that’s age appropriate, I do find contend to lead to a little bit of boredom, frankly, where they do lay down and rest their eyes, they’re in their room, it’s quiet, it’s a little bit darker, you don’t have to make it pitch black if they’re obviously sitting there with a quiet activity book. But as far as like when you drop it, you’re going to know because basically, their personality is going to be amazing throughout the whole day. Right? Again, it can happen anywhere between kind of two and even five, I mean, now I would say there are some kids that just don’t need that much sleep. So if they do take a nap, they’re not going down to like nine or 10 at night. And for many families that’s just too late. So that I would encourage you Yeah, absolutely. To drop the nap at that point. You’ve got to look at your little one’s body and what they need. Right. So when you’re making that dis, you know, decision look at also whether or not it is too early. So let’s say you go on vacation and your little one doesn’t nap and then all of a sudden you come home, and they think it’s like fair game open season on no nap. using something like a reward chart or some sort of okay to wake clock is a great one. Because it’s definitive. Right, you may wake up when this clock is green. Another one that I actually loved to do with my kids at the beach, when they didn’t want to miss out with their older cousins weren’t napping is I would tell them they had to take a five minute nap. When they woke from a nap, they got a popsicle, which I’m like a super, no sugar junkie, so they would get a fresh fruit popsicle,
they would get you know, like a fresh fruit popsicle. But for them, it was like you’re gonna take a five minute nap and you’re not allowed to wake up until you fall asleep for five minutes, right and you know, five minutes always would turn into two hours, which was super cool. For me as a parent, but um, that’s another trick right? Also making the nap environment fun for them, let them build a fort, let them sleep in their sleeping bag, let them you know, have a special pitch a tent in your bedroom nap like you can do things like that to make the naps fun and creative and still not deviate from you know the requirement that they have to take a nap Sometimes kids just like sleeping in their sleeping bag on their bed, right? Sometimes it’s just they can bring a stuffy or a Barbie to bed like you can get creative in some of those things that you’re doing as it relates to helping to keep that nap around. Again, you know, by the age of five kids are pretty good as far as dropping it I’ve worked with kids as they hit you know, again, as early as two that don’t take it and you know, my son nap till he was basically getting on the bus for kindergarten because they were frankly better human beings during the day when they took a nap. So, you know, for all of you it’s really going to be about what works best for your personal family, their sleep needs. I use the American Academy of sleep medicines recommendations around total sleep needs for children, I find they’re you know, pretty close to the American Academy of Pediatrics. But I do all things sleep and they do as well. So I really just like their, you know, their guidelines around the needs and what your little one may be looking for. So from an app transition standpoint, if you are still struggling through this and you’re thinking I don’t know what to do, I’m not sure where to go and you know, I’m almost there Courtney, but I need a little bit more help. I do encourage you to jump out to my Facebook group it’s called slumber made simple it’s a free Facebook group and every single week I’m out there hosting live q&a is you’ll see my beautiful face pop out there and answer all your questions live so you save the date you jump into the event and I’ll answer your questions there right on the spot about anything you’re struggling with sleep related, whether it’s naps are bedtime overnights, whatever it is, you know, definitely feel free to jump out there and join me. So with that hopefully this has been helpful from nap transitions and I look forward to seeing you out in my slumber Made Simple Facebook group. Until the next episode. Have a beautiful week. Thanks so much for tuning in and sweet dreams. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day, every week of the year, I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support laps and the latest in sleep research, to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.