Quiet time LOL .. with a toddler, yeah right!
Coming off the back of my last post, around the 2 to 1 Nap transition, I wanted to follow it up with the 0-1 Nap transition and what quiet time should look like.
In This Post We Will Cover:
Signs that it's time to transition to no nap (hold onto the tears, you will get your evenings back)
The most common age to transition to no naps, but quiet time
How to transition from 1 nap to no nap
What to expect when you transition from 1 nap to quiet time
Signs that it is time to transition to no naps
Your child is putting you to bed! Or can outlast the time that you can stay up until. When a child is napping and they no longer need to nap, the bedtime can become SOOO late - and if you are sticking with an earlier, bedtime your evening would be fuelled with delay tactics.
Unfortunately, if your child is in daycare, this can become a real sticky situation, with most daycare's insisting that they have to, by law allow your child to take a break and that they can't wake them up. I find that this is worse in larger centers than small day homes, which are often more willing to work with you and your needs.
In the case where the daycare can't do or won't do, anything about it, you will be stuck until your child leaves the center or stops falling to sleep during the rest period.
When a child is still napping and it is no longer needed, you will also see that the overall sleep may fall shorter than recommended. Overnight sleep is usually in the 10-12 hr range, so what can happen as they get older is the nighttime range drops to 8 or 9 hours, with the nap. Here is an example of what I mean.
Wakes up at 6 am
Naps at 1 pm
Wakes up at 3 pm
Falls to sleep at 10 pm
The overnight sleep range is only 8 hours. With the added nap duration of approx. 2 hours your child is only getting 10 hrs per 24, whereas if you cut the nap out, they would go to bed 12 hrs from waking and sleep 12 hr, or thereabout. So the actual count of sleep is increased.
Do this calculation and see where your child falls, if the overnight sleep is less than 10 hrs, it might be time to drop the nap or shorten it in preparation for it being removed.
The Most Common Age To Transition To No Nap, But Quiet Time
Typically speaking, It's around the age of 3. If you leave it up to the child they start to phase it out around this age. If they are in daycare it might go as long as the age of 4.5 years. Some children will stop napping on the earlier side, 2.5 years, as napping for some may have always been challenging. But in most cases, it will happen around the age of 3.
Quiet time is supposed to be just that - a break for you and them. They can't keep going all day when they first drop the nap, if they do, watch out.
Quiet time is usually a rest period after lunch, where the nap was, that should take place in the child's room. I do know some parents will allow their child to sit on the couch and watch a movie during this time, esp if they are struggling to keep them safe in their room.
If the quiet time is taking place in the bedroom, it should be with low key activities or just laying on the bed listening to ( I was going to say CD, but now it would be a Spotify playlist or maybe a story being told through an app ) I'm sure you know what I mean, in fact, I was actually able to find an example of what I mean here. You could also have low-key children's music or let them look at picture books.
You can leave the door open or closed depending on your child's personality, it would run for around an hour, and then once over, you can carry on with the day and have a snack and go out. Some parents will want to go longer and that is fine, I would not suggest going longer than 1.5-2hrs.
Don't forget to put your feet up and have a cup of tea yourself! you have earned it and don't feel guilty.
How to Transition from 1 nap to No Nap
Just like all nap transitions, it's easier to talk about a nap transition than it is to implement it. With this transition once immediate reprieve is that most children will fall to sleep so much easier and with fewer antics, once they are exhausted at bedtime - bedtime will be so much earlier than it was, which means that you get to reclaim your evenings. However, the poop can hit the fan around 4 pm, when it's time for an episode of the melt-down city.
I would highly suggest that you have an early dinner when possible when you first do this transition unless you want them to be asleep in their dinner. This early dinner is only short-term, I know lots of families want to eat together, and honestly, your toddler won't last, it will move back to a more regular time as your child gets used to the no nap. If you do an early dinner, you don't have to eat with them, just sit with them.
When the nap is gone, put your child to bed 12 hrs from when they work up in the AM. Be wary of going out in the car in the later afternoon, if you know that you will need them to stay up later, then push for a nap on that one day. If you are out in the car, in the afternoon they will fall to sleep which will defeat the transition. I know that it's not always possible and these things get harder the most children you have, as you can't always stay home.
What To Expect When You Transition From One Nap to No Naps
Fun times! I think parents have mixed feelings about giving up the nap, on one hand, you don't get the same break in the middle of the day, even though quite then is a break, you may still have to be involved in going over the rules of quiet time in the beginning. The biggest gain is really that bedtime is early, and you can do what you want from around 6 pm to your own bedtime.
Initially, when you first do the transition, your child may have days where they still nap, as they can't always go from taking the nap daily to not taking it at all, so be prepared to do one day with, one day without, and then two days without, one day with and so on until its gone. Of course like I mentioned above if you know that you will be out late, do the nap to save yourself and your child being miserable, with no one having fun, at that late-night event.
You may also see some night wakings when you first do the transition, crying, talking overnight, as well as the lovely 5 am waking, which might show up from time to time - make sure you have a set wake up time that you allow your child to start the day so that they can abide by these rules if they are up on the earlier side.
Dawn is a parenting coach, based in Langley BC. She has been working in the field of parenting and as a consultant | coach since 2006.
As a former nanny, mother of 3, and also a coach to hundreds of families per year, she has seen it all.