Episode 49- The 2 to 1 Nap Transition
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Episode Highlights:

  • Sample Scheduled for every stage of naps to adjust with ease
  • Understanding how to adjust and how long it will take to go back to “normal”

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Podcast Episode Transcripts:

Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.

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.
Hey, everyone,
welcome to the kids sleep show, Courtney Zentz here and I am most excited to be joining you this crisp cold Monday here in Philadelphia. But I am so happy you are able to join and tune in to this week’s episode, which is talking all about making the two to one nap transition. So the to one nap transition for me was the most exciting transition because it really meant that I was out of nap jail, right? I didn’t have to worry about, you know, managing my mornings and afternoons knowing there’d be a nap in there somewhere. And then really, I couldn’t go anywhere. Because every time I did my little one would fall asleep in the car for five or 10 minutes. And it would tail bomb the whole day. So we’re going to talk all about first and foremost, how do I identify that your little one may be ready to make the move from two to one naps, what age is appropriate for them to do it, and how you’re best set up for success to get there. So to get started, I want to talk first about the age in which a child is ready for one nap a day. And like most things when it comes to kids, every child is different. I will tell you, in my experience, and I’ve worked with 1000s of children around the world, the ideal age in which a child shows the signs or signals that they’re ready to move to one nap a day is somewhere between 12 and 15 months, I do find 13 months to be the sweet spot. And I do see children that you know are doing just fine on two naps a day kind of upwards into 1718 months. But absolutely by then something starts to go awry, they either struggle to settle for bedtime or they’re waking up early. Usually there’s something else off. So if you have a little one between the ages of 12 and 15 months, that is going to be the ideal time in which you want to begin the transition from two to one naps. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children one through the age of two need to sleep 11 to 14 hours, including naps in a 24 hour period. So most families have something happening as I mentioned 11 hours to 12 hours overnight, and then some aspect of a single nap
typically between two, two and a half hours in the day. Right. So that’s going to be your first clue. Now as you’re making the transition from two to one naps right now your little one is likely taking a nap around 10 o’clock in the morning, and then another nap around to 230. In the afternoon. If you’re working off of a seven to seven schedule, if your schedule is a little different, like eight to eight or six to six, for example, right, your timing may be a little bit different as far as what the clock says with the hours. But the range and windows for their naps is probably pretty consistent, right? If your child is getting up for the day at six, and they’re going to bed at six, their first nap is probably at nine and then their second nap is probably around 130. Right. So you just want to balance the day out to make sure that they’re getting the right amount of rest at the right time. Right? When they go for months taking two naps a day. And they’re generally a little bit longer, right? You get that consistency, Hey, I got you know, the two hour nap in the morning the hour nap in the afternoon or vice versa. Or you have two naps that are split equally at about 90 minutes. Okay, when you know it’s time to move to one nap a day is again, typically something starts to go awry. A lot of people immediately refer to it as a sleep regression, right? Like insert the month and then it’s like, oh my gosh, it’s the 13 month sleep regression, 14 monthly progression. And usually it’s really a timing issue, right that you have to look at, hey, if they’re starting to protest the second nap, right? Where they used to go down and settle fine. And maybe now they’re taking a really long time to settle, or they’re settling eventually, and then only sleeping for 20 minutes. That’s your first clue, especially with that age. Now, again, that’s assuming that they are able to settle themselves because if they’re not able to settle themselves, and things are a little bit of a mess, that’s your first problem is you have to develop the skill of sleep, which is what I do here privately when I work with clients or you have to really kind of adjust the day to make sure you’re setting your child up for success. Right. So when that second nap starts to get really short or they start to fight it or they’re you know laying down for bed and they’re not able to go to sleep for a while because they seem relatively awake, it’s likely then that your child should be moving to one nap a day, I also see where sometimes early morning wakings pop in, because frankly, they’ve slept so much during the day that they don’t need all the sleep at night. And again, your timing gets a bit messed up. Now, the other side of this is assuming that your child is in daycare, and that they are going to move from the newborn and infant room into what is essentially known as the toddler room, right where they sleep typically on a cot, they move to one nap a day, that nap typically happens from 1230 to three within that window. Okay, the beauty of daycare, both my kids were daycare kids, is that they’ll frankly make this adjustment for you. Right. So don’t stress out about it. If you’re in daycare, let them do it, they have a method to their madness, it works beautiful. And frankly, it’s done in about a week, right. So typically on Monday, they will move your child to the next room, they will have them do one nap a day. And they may be a little tired in the evening, because they haven’t learned to consolidate yet give it about a week or two, before you do anything different, their body clock has to adjust to a new window, they have to get used to staying awake longer, and then they have to get used to consolidating into that single nap a day. Right. So with daycare, the beauty of is they’re going to do it for you. And that’s typically around 1230 to three o’clock. Now I do recommend once daycare makes the move to one nap a day, that when your little one is at home, you don’t fluctuate that you don’t go back and forth between two and one naps. Unless you know what happens, you’re driving to grandma’s two and a half hours away and they fall asleep in the car, I get it. But as a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to flip between two and one because you have to teach their body clock to align to this new timing. And the best way to do that is to keep consistency every day. Okay, so those are typically your two scenarios, you’re either home and have flexibility with a nanny or yourself, or they’re a daycare, and they’re going to dictate really when the child moves to one nap a day. Okay, when you’re trying to make the move, what I always tell clients to do first is to actually begin pushing the morning nap out about 30 minutes, every kind of two days or so. Right, your end goal is going to be 1230 as a rule of thumb somewhere between 1230 and 1245. And so if they’re going down at 10 o’clock, you’ve got to force them to get there. And to answer the question that you’re probably thinking about right now, yes, they’re gonna be a little tired. Okay, I have a Pinterest board, there is a whole bunch of sensory activities on that board for this specific purpose. Because you have to make sure you’re amusing children enough to keep them awake. Sometimes food is a good option, sometimes getting outside getting some fresh air, I would not recommend going for a walk at 11 o’clock, if you’re trying to keep your child awake until 1230. Because guess what’s gonna happen, it’s motion sleep, they’re gonna fall asleep, right? So you want to get them outside, maybe they’re doing something sensory, maybe they’re playing with something indoor, from a sensory standpoint, like, you know, water is a good one, I used to take water with a little bit of sponges. And you know, my daughter son would play around with that. And it wasn’t enough that they would get soaking wet, it was just enough, they could kind of play and explore with the water. Sometimes I’d play with like food coloring and put a little oil. And there’s like so many different cool things you can do from a sensory standpoint, to keep them engaged over the course of a week. And I hate to say it, sometimes kids get bored, right? I talked to a lot of clients, and they’re like, Well, you know, we’re on calls. So we just put them in the jumper and then they pass out 11 o’clock. I’m like, well, they don’t want to be in the jumper for more than 20 minutes. So you can’t expect to, you know, take an hour long conference call and have them bouncing the whole time. So you know, some of it is really just that whole week, you’re going to make the shift, making sure that you’re doing something that is stimulating them to get them as quickly as you can to 1230 Yes, they’re going to be a little bit overtired. That is okay. I would much rather your child get pushed in the morning and be a little overtired going into nap while we regulate it. Because again, it’s a temporary thing for a couple days, versus having them be overtired going into bed. Because if that’s the case, and you put them down for that one nap a day to 11, right. And then let’s say they wake up at 130. They’re never going to make seven o’clock for a bedtime. So now you’re going to turn into the cycle where they go to bed at six. Now they’re up between five and six in the morning. Nobody wants that right? And then you get in this perpetual vicious cycle where you’re sort of conforming the day to the wakeup and that nap, just barrel through, get to 1230 know that that’s your goal. And every day you want to move it like I said, it takes about a week but everyday kind of try to push a little bit more 30 minutes every day or two. And you’ll get there in the course of a week and then once you’re there, okay. You are going to want to stick to that one nap a day. If they do take a short nap and you do have to do a little bit of an earlier bedtime. That’s okay. Right? I would much rather you go have a child going down at like 630 for bedtime versus trying to meet some set goal of seven o’clock on the on the dot, right? Let’s assume that the first couple days of doing this things are a total dumpster fire would take can be it depends. You know, the doorbell rings, the dog barks, they fart poop, something happens, right? And they wake up from that nap. And it’s now derailed it right? There may be the need for a quick power nap. I would say something at like four o’clock for 30 minutes, take the edge off, just to get them to bed. But again, this is not a long term solution. You’re moving to one nap a day. But again, you can’t have a child that’s up from 1130 until seven o’clock or they’ll be chronically overtired, which triggers adrenaline and cortisol, they’re overstimulated and then you get in that vicious cycle. Okay, so in summary, the first thing you want to do is identify At what age they should move somewhere between, again 12 and 15 months is what I have found to be ideal.
The way you tell is something’s going to happen. Like they are going to struggle or fight the second nap, the second nap will get really short. Or you’ll start to notice something else off that was typically fine, meaning something like an early morning waking, okay, because they’ve gotten too much sleep typically during the day, and the timing is a little bit messed up. Okay, once you make the move 30 minutes a day to get to your end goal of somewhere between 1230 and 1245. And then forcing there for the period of about a week, it’s going to take a week, sometimes two, they are children, they are not robots to align their body clock to consolidate into a longer nap and to wake up feeling refreshed and recharged. So don’t give up. Don’t get frustrated stick with it because it does take time for the body clock to adjust. Make sure their room is set up to be conditioned for sleep.
Right. Blackout blinds and curtains I think are a great signal sleep is coming. A noise machine is great to prevent background noise. I’ve removed things like nightlights and such because I think ambient light can be a distraction.
And I always like to make sure that I am dressing them appropriately. Obviously based on the weather. It’s getting chilly here in Philly, out on my website, tiny transitions.com forward slash tools. I do have an infant dressing guide that helps many parents to figure out what the right way is to dress their children. So definitely take take a look at that. And as always, if you are struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out I have a private Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. I’m out there every week doing live trainings and live Q and A’s. I put a ton of content out there for absolutely free because I want people to have the success in sleep that they need to feel their best.
I offer private consultations. I work with a lot of clients around the world. So if you’re curious, please set up some time to chat. There’s no obligation I’ll tell you all about the way I work with families because it is quite different than many in the sleep space. But my goal is to build your children into healthy sleepers for the long haul. Not for a couple months. Right? So I look forward to chatting with you. I hope you found this helpful. Definitely check out my blog I talk all about the two to one nap transition as well on my website, tiny transitions calm Any questions? Let me know otherwise have 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, laughs 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.

Resources: Read the Blog on Traveling and Timezone Hopping with Children Free Sleep Training Workshop – Making Over Bedtime Episode Highlights: Sample Scheduled for every stage of naps to adjust with ease Understanding how to adjust and how long it will take to go back to “normal” Ready to Sleep Better? Book a Call Podcast […]