12 answers

Good Nap Schedule for 13 Month Old?

Hi there! My son is about 13 1/2 months and has NEVER really slept well. I am off for the summer (I'm a teacher) and want to get him into a better nap schedule. I have a feeling that having a better nap schedule might make a difference at night. At least I am hoping! Most mornings, he will take a good 2 hour nap (ok maybe some mornings!) But the afternoon nap is what gets him, he just refuses! So I am looking for two things... any advice on how to get him to take better naps and without too much coaxing from me. And some of your nap schedules for your little ones.
Thanks a bunch!

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I guess I never thought it was time to go down to one nap! We'll definitely have to do some rearranging of the schedule. He just seems so tired about two hours after he wakes up and then in the late afternoon he seems tired again because he doesn't sleep much in the afternoon. Maybe a nice long nap later in the day would suit him better. Now what about when you plan outings?? Like the zoo? Do you just throw them off schedule for a day?
Thanks for all your help! I'll be out tomorrow to get that book :)

Featured Answers

I agree with everyone tht says to keep him up for the first nap. Then my sitter put my daughter on a great routine while I was teaching. She would feed her lunch, then send her outside or let her play untill about 1:30. She would put her down for a nap until we got there to pick her up, about 4 or 4:30. Then this allowed us to play with her a little later seeing we both work. She now goes to bed between 8 and 9. This has worked since she gave up her nap. I hope this helps.

More Answers

Hi L.,

It sounds like your son is ready to transition to 1 good nap per day -- in the afternoon, of course. I have a 9 year old and twins that are almost 8, so when they were small, it was important to me that they all be on the same nap schedule. Around the twins' first b-day, I began weaning them from their a.m. nap by gradually putting them down a little later each day. It was not easy, but after a few weeks, I had all 3 of my babies taking a solid 3 hour nap from noon to 3 every day, a schedule they kept until they were over 3 years old. (Wow, that sentence has a lot of threes in it!!). Anyway, try to delay your son's morning nap a little each day until he is used to going down in the early afternoon for a solid chunk of time. Good luck!

I love when they take 2 naps... iof they will. Have u tried pushing his morning nap up and letting take one long nap in the middle of the day? Or just cutting his morning nap short...after one hour wake him up, have a snack, go for a walk, have him play by himself while you do some things before lunch, feed him his lunch, read a book or sing nap time again. Wind him up, wind him down. That worked wonders for me and my son when he was little...he was a horrible night time sleeper. Now my newest addition seems to like to take a long stretch in the middle of the day, but she is by far a much better sleeper than my son.

I agree-you definitely should read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth. You need to educate yourself about children's sleep-it's incredibly important. You don't have to read the whole thing. It tells you in the beginning which chapters are important, and then you read up on your child's age group. The 13-16 month chapter is only 2 or 3 pages. It talks about transitioning from two naps to one, and how to do it. I read this book when I was pregnant, and my daughter has an excellent sleep schedule. She's been sleeping 12 hours a night (straight through) since she was 5 months old. Right now I also have to transition her from two naps to one, and this book is coming in might handy (again). Good Luck!

At his age, he probably only needs one early afternoon nap and try for an early bedtime. (6-7). Read Healthy sleep habits, happy child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. I think that can help you on a good path and give suggestions to a felxible sleep schedule.

I just got a chance to check my email this week and have decided to quickly add my two cents. My son has never been a good sleeper (now sixteen months) and when it was time to go to one nap it was agonizing to keep him up until 1:00 (the time recommended to me). I started putting him down at about 11:30 and it has worked great. He will sleep about 3 hours most days. He is starting to be able to go down a little later. But that worked really well for a few months. Since it was during "lunch time" I did half of lunch at 11:00 and half when he woke up. He was in a much better mood both morning and afternoon and we just did activities either before or after nap and occasionally we pushed it until 1:00 for something special. Good luck.

My son (18 months) religiously takes a 3 hour nap at 10 am. Much to my dismay, he started to give up afternoon naps when he was about your son's age, although every once in a while he'll go back to it. Make sure that your nap routine is an abbreviated version of your bedtime routine (same music, same books, same lovey, etc.) and make it consistent. And as for the afternoon nap, at his age you might not be able to force sleep. Some babies have given up that 2nd nap by then. But you can encourage "quiet time" - at the same time each afternoon, do the nap routine and then put him down with a book or a soft, quiet toy. Turn off the lights, tell him "you don't have to sleep but you have to rest" and say you'll be back in an hour (or whatever). Of course if he screams, maybe that won't work. But if he can play quietly and maybe even fall alseep from it, then great! It's worth a try.

I read Dr. Weissbluth's book, too, and it helped us. Our son is a champion sleeper. However, many posters said to make your son's one nap be the afternoon one but if that's not his style, then let him sleep in the morning. Although it's "normal" for toddlers to nap in the afternoon, some (like mine and his cousin) prefer the morning. If I had to force him to stay awake until 1 pm, we'd both be miserable! About a month ago, I did push his morning nap back about a half-hour and he started to nap longer, so that may help. Plus, the morning nap suits our lifestyle. I like not being tied to the house all afternoon.

My other strategy for that time in the afternoon where he won't sleep, but is obviously too tired for play, is to just go out for a walk. Take advantage of this great weather. Your son might fall asleep in the stroller, or at the very least the fresh air will energize you both. Listen to some music, stop to get a coffee, or go to a forest preserve. I LOVE taking walks - it's the only way I know to take a "break" while my son is still with me!

Good luck and enjoy your summer - I taught before my son was born and I know how liberated you feel!

Hi L.,
Just wanted to say that going with your gut on your son's napping is not a bad way to go. If you think he's tired in the afternoon and needs another nap then he probably does. My son took a long time to transition to one nap (between 2-3 months) and some days he needed 2 and others only 1. Enjoy your summer with him and remember that sleep is only one aspect...don't forget to enjoy being with him! I also read Healthy Sleep Habits and it's an interesting read but unfortunately many people become obsessed with it and lose sight of other things.
Karen C.

I agree with everyone tht says to keep him up for the first nap. Then my sitter put my daughter on a great routine while I was teaching. She would feed her lunch, then send her outside or let her play untill about 1:30. She would put her down for a nap until we got there to pick her up, about 4 or 4:30. Then this allowed us to play with her a little later seeing we both work. She now goes to bed between 8 and 9. This has worked since she gave up her nap. I hope this helps.

Your son may be dropping a nap which can be a difficult adjustment. Try keeping him up in the morning. Go to the park, a walk or even the grocery store, have lunch and then put him down for the afternoon nap. Lunch may be at 11:00 and the nap at 12:00 but hopefully he can eventually eat at 12:00 and nap at 1:00. My son dropped his morning nap around 15 months. It seems it happens between 1 and 1.5 years. Before dropping the morning nap he went down at 9:00 am and 1:00. Good luck.

My 18mo still takes 2 naps, the prob is if she takes too long of a morning nap, she too refuses an afternoon nap. I now limit her morning nap to an hour/ hour and half. Then she goes down around 1-2 for an afternoon nap.
Good luck!

My youngest son (will be 15 months old tomorrow) has always only taken one nap during the day. He used to take it in the morning, but now he takes it at about 1:30. He sleeps 2-3 hours a day for a nap. I talk to the pediatrician every time we go, and he told me that as long as he sleeps a minimum of 2 hours of a nap a day, he doesn't care if he takes it in 2 naps, or 1. So, I have given up on trying to get him to take 2 naps. Last week, he actually skipped his nap twice. I am not going to give up on the 2 hours/day nap, but if he wants to take one long nap that is fine. I have found with kids, you can't force them to do anything. You can try to move his nap back some by remaining busy and active. Good luck!

Usually between 12 and 15 months is the transition from 2 naps to 1. My second son was on the earlier side of switching from 2 naps to 1. He was 12 or 13 months. His choice would have been to nap just in the morning and skip the afternoon one as your son seems to prefer. I wouldn't go for that especially since he was my second and I wanted my boys to nap at the same time in the afternoon. So, when he started having trouble going down for his afternoon nap but did really well with the morning nap, I began to push the morning nap back by a half an hour at a time. So instead of sleeping 2 naps for 2 hours each, he transitioned to 1 nap for 3 or 3.5 hours (up to 4)in the afternoon. It was a pretty quick transition working toward a noon nap time. He is now 19 months old and sleeps very cosistently 1pm until 3:30 or 4pm. I wake him up at 4pm if he hasn't woken up already so he's ready for his 8:30pm-7:30 or 8am night time sleep. I think you are right in the routine and daytime naps affecting the night time sleep as well. Have a wonderful summer!! I think those summers off are one of the greatest rewards for all the hard work of teaching. ENJOY!! :)

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