by Elizabeth Pantley
Children typically switch from two daily naps to one nap sometime between the ages of 12 and 24 months. However, that year of difference is a very long span of time. This tells us that age alone is not the only factor to consider when changing your child's nap routine.
This isn't about what your child thinks he wants. It's about the biological need for two naps versus
one. Naps at different times of the day serve different purposes in brain development at different ages.
Morning naps have more dreaming, or REM sleep, which makes them important for young babies who require it for early brain development. You don't want to rush the process if your child is still benefiting from this important sleep time.
There is another consideration when deciding to make a schedule change: The length of time that your child is awake from one sleep period to the next has an effect on his mood and behavior. The older your child is, the longer he can go between sleep breaks without getting cranky. That's the reason that that young babies need to divide their day up with two naps, but older babies can handle a full day with only one nap.
Since there is a wide range of what's normal it's important to study each child's behavior to see
when he is ready to transition to one nap a day. Use the following lists as a guide.
Instead of thinking in terms of dropping a nap it's better to think in terms of a schedule change. The change from two naps to one nap is rarely a one-day occurrence. Most often there will be a transition period of several months when your child clearly needs two naps on some days, but one nap
on others. You have a number of options during this complicated transition time: