Dropping Afternoon Nap First?

Updated on October 11, 2008
J.D. asks from Van Nuys, CA
5 answers

I'm having napping trouble with my 14 month old. For awhile now it has been very hard to get him to take two naps. He LOVES his morning nap, and goes down around 9:00 with no problem, sleeping sometimes up to 3 hours. The afternoon is another story. He doesn't want to go down, and he'll just play forever. I've tried shortening the interval between naps, and lengthening the interval. I've tried waking him after an hour so he'll be tired enough in the afternoon, but that usually doesn't work. He'll just stay up from 10:30 until bedtime. Nothing works on a regular basis. I've tried one nap, and it has not gone well. He'll go right to sleep (I've pushed him as late as 11:15), but only for about an hour. Then he's exhausted by bedtime, wakes up at night, wakes up early the next day, making it even harder to keep him up until 11:00... I think we're just in that tricky transition spot. I'd like to hear other Moms' experience with this transition, particularly if your baby dropped their PM nap first. Did you just go for one nap, and they eventually got used to it and napped longer? Did you do one nap on some days, and two naps on others?

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answers from Honolulu on

My son is 25 months old and still takes 2 naps, morning about 10:00 and afternoon about 3:00. He naps for 2 hours each. He goes to bed fine, even with his afternoon nap. He goes to bed at night at 8:00p.m.

Yes, he went through these transitions too, but not as sporadic as yours. For me, I just kept to his regular routine and nap schedule. I found that during developmental changes and growth spurts, that this is when he had hiccups in his napping. BUT, he always went back to his regular 2 nap a day routine after the phased passed.

For me, if he really did not nap, after my trying... (not having him cry it out), but rather, he'd just play in his crib without falling asleep. Then I just took him out. But then put him down for his next regular nap, at the same times.

I did try and "skip" his morning nap before.... but like your son, it didn't work and he'd just get super tired and clingy and fussy without his nap. So, I reverted back to his 2-nap a day schedule. He responds much better to that. Like yours, if he skips 1 nap, my son just does not make it through the day and then to go to bed at night, he is just too overtired by then and gets very grumpy!

So, this is what I have done. And it works for him. I never "dropped" my son's nap "permanently." Because he needs it...but I did adapt my willingness to "skip" naps here and there if he did not fall asleep, at those times he was different. But I would still try and put him down at the regular times. Same routine, same times, everyday.

I also, because he & my daughter naps in the afternoon (after she gets home from school), only put my son down at certain times...because if he naps at a later time (say at 11:30 or 12:00), there is simply not enough time for him to get a full nap by the time we have to leave the house to go and pick up my daughter from school). So for this reason, if he does not nap in the morning... then I keep him up until his afternoon nap. Then he and my daughter both nap at the same time in the afternoon! (which is great for me).

But everyday, I keep to the same routine, same nap time, same everything, everyday. My son will even, when he is tired, get himself in his nap routine by himself and take my hand to go downstairs to get ready, and he loves his crib still....so that helps. He does like to nap though, and he does not "protest" about it much.

It really depends...but consistency is the key. So, well my son has not "dropped" any naps, yet. But sometimes he just does not "want to" nap. But that's okay. Main thing for me, is that I keep to our routine, and that has kept it regular.

Every child is different. If they aren't going to nap, they aren't. So then wait a bit... then try again. So yes, I do one nap on some days, but usually 2 naps everyday, as that is what my son does best with. But I adapt, while keeping to the same schedule. My son as well, does not do well with only 1 nap. But I gauge him and also go according to that.

well sorry for rambling, but this is what I've done. Your son maybe going through changes and developmental phases... which is normal. Just keep trying... and see what happens. For my son, it was always a phase he went through. Then it passed.

Good luck,



answers from Santa Barbara on

My son dropped his second nap shortly after his 1st birthday and then dropped naps completely when he turned 2...

My daughter dropped her second nap shortly after her 1st birthday...


Sooo when they've done this, I've taken that time (away from naps) and put it on their bedtime...

IE: When my son was napping, he went to bed at 8pm...when he stopped napping his 2 hour nap in the middle of the day, I started putting him to bed at 6pm and he still woke up at the same time in the AM.

My daughter only takes one nap now and if it's not a long enough nap, I put her to bed earlier (example, the nap was 30 minutes short, she goes to bed 30 minutes early)

If there is a day when my daughter doesn't nap at all, I put her down 2 hours early for bedtime...

Both kids will still wake up in the AM at the same time...but for my kids, my son needs 12 hours of sleep and my daughter needs 14.

My son is 3 years old and my daughter is 16 months old.

My daughter's nap time can be 9:30-11:30 or 10:30-12:30 or 12-2 or 1:30-3:30...but I will never let her sleep past 3 or we're in for a LATE bedtime :( She typically needs 4 hours from her nap wake up time to bedtime...and since her bedtime is 6pm, (along with my son) I prefer the AM naps best. :)

Hopefully that was helpful? I guess my point is some kids drop their naps earlier then others, and that's life...

...you still get an AM nap right...???



answers from Los Angeles on

Oh yes, sounds very familiar! My son had a similar thing from about that age until very recently (he's 20 months now). He almost always did well with a morning nap but wouldn't always take an afternoon nap. If I pushed him and only gave him one nap in the early afternoon, it was short and he got tired WAY before bedtime, even if I planned to put him down early. Lately, though, he's been sleeping in later and wants to go down for his nap later, so I think it just took a long time to completely transition to one nap. I'd say follow his lead. If he can get a good three hour nap in the morning but doesn't want to nap in the afternoon, go with that (but at least, as Susan suggested, still TRY putting him down for an afternoon nap), just plan for an earlier bedtime on those days that it doesn't happen.



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm right on the same boat with you- my 12 month old dropped his afternoon nap around 9-10 months!! At first he was taking a nap at 9 or 10, but now it's more like 10 or 11am. It usually last from 1 hour to 2 hours. He goes to bed around 7.15pm and wakes up just after 6am. Just let your baby sleep when tired and move up bedtime, his body will adjust after a few days. Hang in there!



answers from Los Angeles on

My twin girls took two naps until they were two! Such great sleepers. My son was 12 months when we went through this. He also loved his morning nap and quit sleeping in the afternoon. I went down to one nap at noon. It took him about a week to adjust but now he sleeps from noon to three with no problems. The first week I just kept him very entertained until noon. Every kid is different but I wanted daddy to play with a well rested kid not a crabby tired one, so I dealt with the crabby kid. Once you start a transition just stick to it.

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