How to Lengthen a Toddler's Single Nap: 6 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Slow down the entire household so toddlers can unwind.

Few sights are as beautiful as a sleeping toddler, but getting your little one to Dreamland is another story. Most kids transition from two naps to one around their first birthday. By age 2, their afternoon naps are shorter, and by age 3, they may be ready to give up naps altogether--long before you're ready to see naps end. Kids need their sleep though and you need a break. Use some positive strategies to extend those nap times as long as possible.


  1. 1
    Toddlers are creatures of habit and if they know nap time is an everyday occurrence, they're more likely to settle in for a long nap. Nap should be a positive, warm experience, though, or toddlers will balk. Young children don't have a lot of control over life, but they can control when they do or don't sleep. Don't let sleep become a power struggle. You'll lose every time! If a toddler really can't go to sleep, try again the next day. How much sleep a toddler needs is largely an innate characteristic. Some kids need naps until they're 5, while others give up napping at age 2.
  2. 2
    Come 8 o'clock, most parents are ready for some quiet time, but the earlier you send Junior to bed, the earlier he'll wake up and the shorter his nap will be. Extending bed time by 30 minutes to an hour might ensure that he'll take a good afternoon nap the next day. Alternatively, try waking your toddler up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to extend nap time.
  3. 3
    One of the reasons a toddler may not nap long is simply that she's not tired. If she's spent the morning playing quiet, indoor games, she might not need much sleep. Young children need at least 30 minutes of outdoor exercise every morning. More is even better. Go for a walk, play in the backyard or visit a park. Outdoor play and exercise can rev some kids up, so be sure to transition to quieter activities at least one hour before nap time.
  4. 4
    Sometimes young children can't sleep because they're hungry. A solid, healthy lunch which includes protein, complex carbs and fruits and vegetables will help your child settle in for a long nap. Cheese, milk and turkey are all known to have a soporific effect. Other good options include brown rice with veggies, peanut butter on whole grain bread or grilled cheese sandwiches and milk. A toddler who fills up on empty carbs and sugar may wake up hungry.
  5. 5
    Most parents look forward to nap time as a time to get things done, but you're probably just as tired as your little one. Nap time can be a special, relaxing ritual for both parents and tots. Lay down with your child and take a short cat nap if you're tired. Your little one will probably sleep longer if you spend some time snuggling together. Television tends to rev kids up, but quiet books, music or puzzles can set the stage for a nice, long nap.
  6. 6
    Some toddlers can sleep through ringing doorbells, crying babies and barking dogs, while other toddlers wake at the slightest noise. Light in the room can also affect naps. Light-blocking blinds keep the room darkened, which can help extend nap time. And don't forget the power of white noise. Run a fan or play a CD with soothing sounds of nature to mask noises in the house.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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