It's been almost an hour since you laid her down for a nap and you still hear your 2-year-old singing happily and playing with her dolls.
What's happening? Is your child ready to give up the habit of napping already? Does she even need naps at this stage?
Although younger children usually need a nap in addition to at least 11 hours of sleep at night, the need for sleep varies significantly between individuals, and in the same individual at different times. The average amount of sleep required by 2-year-olds, for example, is nearly 13 hours daily, yet the actual amount of sleep required by one particular child can be as little as 10?or as many as 15 or 16?hours per day.
It's important to keep naps a priority at this stage in your toddler's development. When questions about his nap schedule arise, keep these factors in mind:
Seasonal changes. It's a fact: longer daylight in the summer discourages sleep, whereas winter darkness induces it. Acknowledging seasonal variations in your child's sleeping patterns aids daily planning. During summer heat, encourage late-afternoon naps and save play for the early evening, when the weather is cooler.
Physiological needs. Illness, travel and holidays can disrupt your child's sleep patterns. Adjust your expectations to fit changing circumstances and creatively redesign routines to allow for greater rest with less stress.
Rather than sticking to a strict sleeping schedule, try to make allowances for naps according to your child's physiological needs. For example, if he takes a long nap on some days and other times doesn't sleep at all, establish two regular bedtimes?one for no-nap days and another for the long-nap days.1