When our little baby starts to look and behave more and more like a ‘child’- it can make us (their parents) sad and excited at the same time.
We are sad because that little baby phase is coming to an end. They seem to be growing up so fast, and they are!
We are excited, because babe is more independent, able to play with other children, and you are able to do more with them. Bike rides, museums, parks- here we come!
The thing that we must remember when it comes to our ever-transitioning children and sleep is that things actually change very little…
Let’s talk about a few things you might have on your mind and how we will handle them moving forward.
Transitioning from 2 to 1 Nap
During your child’s second year of life, they will transition from 2 to 1 nap. I love love LOVE the 1 nap schedule because it just allows you so much freedom to do more with your child. BUT that being said, if you transition to 1 nap before your child is ready, you may be in for a rough time.
So what does this transition look like?
WHEN: 15-18 months
*most daycares will make this transition around 1 year, but I always recommend offering 2 naps at home on the weekend until your child can handle one nap well.
WHAT: When your child is ready to transition to 1 nap, you will notice one of a few things:
1-The morning nap is getting shorter
2-Your child is struggling to go down for their afternoon nap
3-Afternoon nap is getting shorter or refused altogether
HOW: My favorite way to transition to one nap is to start capping the first nap. Start capping the nap by 15 minutes or so every week until the nap goes away… You will then be left with your second nap, which is the nap we keep on the one nap schedule.
*It’s important to note that this transition can be a rocky one. Take it one day at a time and know that early bedtimes are your best friend during this time.
Your child’s sleep environment will not change the older they get…
We want to keep that pitch black darkness, sound machine, and safe sleep space. This is our best tool to help cue to your child that it’s time to go to sleep.
One thing we can change is we can introduce a soothing item to their crib. After your child turns one, we can offer them a small stuffed animal, lovey, or blanket to use during sleep times. This will be a tool they use to soothe, especially if they start having any separation anxiety.
If you have spent much time on my page, you know that one of my main pieces of advice to toddler and taby (12-24 mos) parents is KEEP THE CRIB. Children really struggle to understand the responsibility that comes with a toddler bed before the age of 3. This is by far the biggest derailer of toddler sleep I see.
Around the age of 18 months, I hear a lot of clients saying their children are trying to climb out of the crib. Here are a few tips to help:
1- Sleep sack. Put a sleep sack on your child to keep them from crawling out. If they can get it off, put it on backwards.
2- Turn the high side of the crib away from the wall.
3-Give a clear, confident ‘NO’ over the monitor if and when you see your child trying to climb out.
4- Be sure their sleep schedule is on point. If they are overtired, they are more likely to try these escape tactics.
It is logical to think that the older our children get, the later they can go to sleep.
I want to reiterate that this is just not true. Our children continue to need that good amount of sleep and early bedtime until they start going to school, and even then, we need to offer them that rest!
Of course if there is a special occasion every once in a while, your child should enjoy it. But if they are well-rested, they should be able to tolerate it well.
I know it’s tempting to keep our children up, but wouldn’t you rather enjoy 1 hour with a well-rested, happy child than 3 hours with an overtired, cranky one?
*If you’re wondering about my suggested schedules by amount of naps, check out my Schedules blog!
So when your baby starts looking more like a ‘kid’ it’s important to note that they still have a lot of needs they had in those early days, especially when it comes to sleep.
Personal note: I know my sleep-lover, 20 month old, Dean would be a much different baby if he didn’t get all of the rest he does. I ripped the second nap out of his schedule at 18 months, and I swear he would have happily kept it for longer. Every babe is different, but if we air on the side of more sleep, we typically win out!