Normal napping patterns in almost-two-year-olds

Maybe Sleeping Beauty has nothing on Baby, and once he’s asleep, there’s no waking him, kiss or no kiss. On the other hand, maybe he has a little bit more in common with the princess from The Princess and the Pea – a light sleeper who’s woken by the tiniest thing. Whether Baby is one type of sleep-royalty or the other or he is somewhere in-between, though, his sleep is one of the most important parts of his day. More than that, sleep is one of the things that can make the rest of his day either run smoothly or collapse at the slightest mishap.

By this age, Baby is probably down to only needing about 11 to 14 hours of sleep out of every 24, and his sleep needs will continue to drop over the next few months and years. By the time he is 3 years old, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that he get 10 to 13 hours of sleep out of every 24. So while sleep needs will decrease in the future, the number of hours of sleep he needs right now is probably pretty stable, even if he begins to have more of them happen at night, and less during nap time.

Napping at almost 2

By Baby’s age, most toddlers are down to one nap a day, probably in the afternoon. This nap often lasts as long as 2 or 3 hours. If he is still taking two naps a day, one in the morning, and another in the afternoon, he could be ready to drop down to a single nap sometime soon.

It can be hard to tell when Baby is ready to drop a nap, because this is also the age when he might start to resist naps, even if he needs them. Nap resistance can be part of a sign that it’s time for reduced napping, but restless sleep at night, and short naps once he does fall asleep can be a better way to tell.

When Baby does drop down to one nap, it’s usually the morning nap, and in response, the afternoon nap may shift a little earlier, or start to last a little longer. Even when it’s really time for a napping schedule to change as Baby grows, it can take a few days to get used to the new routine enough to see how it’s working.

The exceptions that prove the rule

As Baby grows, his sleeping habits are going to keep slowly evolving – but that doesn’t mean that every break in his routine is a sign of a permanent change. It’s easy to wonder if a few days of naptime resistance mean your toddler is ready to give up his mid-afternoon sleep in favor of getting all of his rest at night, like the big kids do. In reality, though, nap resistance often happens at this age as your toddler starts to get a more acute case of FOMO (fear of missing out) – not wanting to miss out on all the fun he could be having if he wasn’t sleeping – or some separation anxiety, if he doesn’t want even his own subconscious to come between him and you. In fact, most toddlers will do best taking a nap a day up until they’re between 3 and 5 years old.

On the other end of the spectrum, if your single-napper goes back to taking a catnap in the late morning for a day or two, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is regressing, or that he went down to one nap too soon. Instead, it could mean that he is extra tired leading up to a growth spurt, or that he isn’t feeling well, or just that he has had interrupted sleep or hasn’t been sleeping well recently, and needs to catch up.

  • Rupal Christine Gupta. “Naps.” Kids Health. The Nemours Foundation, April 2016. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Baby naps: Daytime sleep tips.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, July 9 2015. Web.
  • “Changes in Sleep with Age.” Healthy Sleep. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, December 17 2008. Web.
  • “Infant Sleep.” Stanford Children’s. Stanford Children’s Health. Web.
  • “National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times.” Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, February 2 2015. Web.

Related Topics

Get the Ovia Parenting app
Get our app at the Apple App Store Get our app at the Apple App Store Get our app at the Google Play Store Get our app at the Google Play Store