When Should Kids Stop Napping?

Reviewed on 1/28/2021

Napping
Most children will stop napping without exhibiting any signs. However, few children may show signs that indicate they are ready to stop taking naps.

Almost all kids stop napping by 7 years of age. The percentages of children getting a nap at different ages. See the below chart.

Day naps depend on several factors such as your child’s activities during the day including playgroups or pre-school visits and night-time sleep habits. If your 7-year-old child still tries to continue napping, then consult a pediatrician to confirm there are no underlying sleep health concerns.

The percentages of children getting a nap at different ages chart
Age (in years)Percentage of children napping
3More than 90%
464%
530%
6Less than 10%

The average sleep time for children of various age-groups is mentioned below:

The average sleep time for children of various age-groups chart
Age (in months)Average sleep times
9-12 monthsThere may be 10-12 hours of sleep at night plus two naps per day on a regular schedule.
15-24 monthsMorning naps are eliminated, and the child will now nap only once each day. Usually, there may be one nap of 1.5-2 hours.
24-36 monthsMost children still benefit from an afternoon nap. They usually require 12 hours of sleep in 24 hours.
After 5 yearsIt is helpful to eliminate the afternoon naps to get better sleep at night. Be careful not to give up naps before your child is ready.

What are the signs your child is ready to stop napping?

Most children will stop napping without exhibiting any signs. However, few children may show signs that indicate they are ready to stop taking naps:

  • They have difficulty falling asleep during nap time: In fact, they would be energetic all through the day without getting their nap. They may sing or play while lying on the bed.
  • They don’t show signs of exhaustion on days without naps: If your child is not struggling to stay awake during the daytime and if they don’t become irritable by evening, then this indicates that they are ready to stop napping.
  • They wake up early: Daytime napping may cause your child to wake up early the next morning. If you see such signs, then try shortening your child’s nap time rather than eliminating them.
  • They have difficulty falling asleep at night: Napping during the day can make them less sleepy during the night. They may want to postpone their sleep. However, don’t encourage that habit. Instead, try to shorten the daytime naps than procrastinating their night sleep.
  • They no longer nap at all: During their scheduled nap time, they may continue to play or read without signs of sleepiness.

How to drop a nap

Dropping a nap may take time. It is better to shorten the nap time than to avoid it. Replacing nap time with quiet time can allow children to choose whether they would like to sleep or play quietly. Children who no longer need a nap typically fall asleep faster at night and sleep through the night, making the bedtime routine easier for you.

You can drop the child’s nap by following these techniques:

  • Reducing the nap time gradually would make them adjust to less sleep during the day. However, they may require more sleep at night. They may even sleep earlier. Manage your schedule accordingly.
  • Avoid activities that would cause drowsiness in children. For example, long periods of inactivity may make them feel drowsy. Hence, it is necessary to avoid this activity until they drop the habit.
  • Keeping them engaged in activities would keep them awake. Avoid giving them heavy lunches that would make them lethargic and sleepy. Opt for healthier light lunches with plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit.

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References
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/when-do-kids-stop-napping#:~:text=Sixty%20percent%20of%20four%2Dyear,by%20seven%20years%20of%20age

https://www.stlouischildrens.org/health-resources/pulse/napping-necessary

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