Most children give up their daily nap by the time they are 4 (assuming that they are getting a good quality and quantity of sleep at night) but this does not mean that they are ready to go full throttle from the time they wake until bed time. Even though your child may not need a daily nap they will usually still benefit from some down time and the opportunity to nap if they need to.
You will know your child is ready to move from a daily nap to quite time when:
- On the days that they nap they then fight getting ready for bed and once they are in bed they have a hard time staying there.
- If they do take a nap then they spend an hour (or more) singing, talking and playing before finally falling asleep.
Once you have determined that you think they are ready to move to having quiet time instead of naps there are some things you can do to help with the transition and to keep them from getting over tired.
1. Just like with naps, quiet time should be at a regular and predictable time each day. It also helps to set up the right environment. This means you may want to continue a short quiet time routine similar to the routine you had for nap time, and you can dim the lights and make their room/space as calm as possible.
2. Be clear about the rules and your expectations. Often having a timer or wake up clock will allow them to know when quiet time is over. Be sure to tell them what behavior you expect if they need something or if they have to go potty, and tell them what quiet time activities they are allowed to play with.
3. Be realistic. Not every day is going to be a great quiet time day. Some days quiet time might last longer and some days it might be shorter. And if you child has not had a lot of independent play time then you may find that you need to do a quite time “shuffle” where you check on them from time to time while gradually removing your presence and your assistance.
It is important even when they stop napping every to still allow them to have some downtime every day and to be open to have “nap days” every once in a while.
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