Sleep problems aren't only about babies, toddlers have several times where their sleep may change too. One of the most asked questions I get from parents is when does their toddler go from two sleeps a day to just one? At their first birthday, your toddler will still be having two sleeps, one in the morning and a longer one at lunchtime. By 1 ½ years it is likely that they are only needing one big one at lunchtime.
Usually between 15 – 18 months you will notice that your toddler doesn’t go to sleep for their lunchtime nap, or that by the time they do fall asleep it is mid afternoon and then they struggle to sleep come bedtime at night. If they do not sleep at all, you will also notice that they cannot cope very well at all without it and by late afternoon things are disintegrating fast.
Once you decide that it is time to transition to one nap there is two different strategies you can use. The first is to simply keep your toddler up and skip the morning nap, but as you will quickly find they cannot cope very well and quickly become overtired, emotional and cranky. Stretch them for as long as you can and then bring forward their lunchtime nap much, much earlier say 10.30 or 11am. Let your toddler sleep for as long as they like. Again the afternoon become long and they become overtied however this is just a transition until they can cope better and will last for about a month.
Second strategy is a bit by bit strategy where you move their morning nap later by 15 minutes per day until you are getting them down for their day sleep about five hours after waking for the day and going to bed at night, about four hours after waking from their lunchtime sleep. Eg. If they wake at 6.30 am – sleep time is 11.30 am usually for 2-3 hours and then down for nighttime sleep at 6.30pm If they are really tired do not hesitate to put them down even earlier at nighttime to help them cope until they become older and can cope better.