Push the morning nap later
Gradually push the morning nap to 11 am. Keep it here for one week.
You can do this by pushing the morning nap later by 15 – 20 minutes every 2-3 days until you get to 11 am. Then stay here for at least one week to help your baby adapt to a later nap.
For example, if your baby used to nap at 10 am, put him down at 10:15 am for 2-3 days. Then push it to 10:30 am for another 2-3 days. Keep with this pattern until he’s napping at 11 am everyday.
Let your toddler nap as long as he wants for this nap. Don’t wake him after a certain time.
Distract your baby to keep her awake
Take your baby outside in the morning and expose her to natural light. This is a natural cue for her body to stay awake. Run errands, go for a stroll or take a trip to the playground.
Arrange a morning playdate to keep your toddler distracted and stimulated so she doesn’t want to nap early.
Offer a meal before nap time
A common concern when babies go to one nap is “When do I feed him?” 10:30 am seems too early for lunch, but your toddler may wake early from his nap if he’s hungry.
What works best for most toddlers is splitting lunch during the early days. Who says lunch has to be one big meal at noon?!
Offer half of lunch before nap time and half when your toddler wakes. Or give a protein-rich snack before nap time. I promise, your little one won’t mind.
Create the right sleep space
Now that your toddler will be napping only once each day, it’s important that this nap is at home. Napping at home in the crib is more restorative than naps on-the-go.
Go to baby’s bedroom 15 minutes before nap time. Do a quick relaxing routine to help her unwind and settle for sleep. Change her diaper, read a book together, sing a lullaby then place her in bed.
Your toddler should nap in her darkened bedroom with white noise playing to ensure she gets long, restful sleep.
Let baby nap for 2-3 hours
Your toddler needs 2-3 hours of daytime sleep everyday. This nap transition will help him get all the hours of sleep he needs in one long beautiful nap. It’s a dream!
At first, many toddlers will only nap 1-2 hours. That’s ok, this nap transition takes time. In this case, either offer a 30 min cat nap in the afternoon or move bedtime earlier to prevent over-tiredness.
A good rule of thumb is if your toddler can skip the cat nap and have bedtime be 6 pm, go with that option. But if the awake time will be too long, offer a cat nap instead and keep your usual bedtime.
If a late cat nap disrupts bedtime, skip it and move bedtime earlier. Always prioritize bedtime over a late nap.
Settle into the right nap time
Choosing the right nap time is the key to mastering the transition to one nap and settling your toddler into a one nap schedule without becoming overtired.
There are a few ways of finding the right nap time. The first is to pick the time that falls in the middle of baby’s previous naps.
For example, if your baby used to nap at 10 am and 2 pm, his “new” one daily nap time should fall somewhere in the middle of his previous nap times. In this case, a nap at 12 pm would be ideal.
Another way to decide the best time for your baby’s one nap schedule would be 5 hours after waking in the morning.
Your baby wakes at 6 am & has bedtime 7 pm. Baby should settle into one long nap everyday from 11 am – 2 pm.
Your baby wakes at 7 am & has bedtime 7:30 pm. Baby should settle into one long nap everyday from 12 – 3 pm.
Start transitioning your baby to the right nap time after one week of having nap at 11 am.
*Once your toddler turns 2, nap time usually starts moving later to 12:30-1 pm.