We are starting a new series of Q & A blogs-
This month I answer a question from the Mom of a 3yr who's late naps are making bedtime too late.
Question from Mom:
Q: "I'd like your professional opinion - I am the mother of a 10-month-old and 3-year-old. My older daughter just turned 3, and currently on a 2:30PM nap to match my (11-month old's afternoon nap).
Should I continue with the nap? How can I control these factors and get bedtime back to a reasonable hour?
A: Yes, there is definitely such a thing as too late of a bedtime and I get this question from my client's at nearly every age of baby or child. I agree that 10 PM is too late for a 3 year old.
- wakes around 7 AM
- falls asleep independently
- is taking one nap a day
At her age (or a child between 2 and 3 years old), the average amount of sleep is around 10 1/2 hours at night plus a 1 1/2 hour afternoon nap.
Ideal schedule at 3 years old
Wake up in the morning (no early than 6 and no later than 7:30 AM)
7:00 AM - wake up
1:00 or 2 PM - nap
(put her down between 6-7 hours after she woke in the morning)
2:30 PM - Wake from nap (wake her up no later than 3 PM).
8:00 AM - bedtime
NOTE: A good rule of thumb at 3 years old, up from the nap by 3 PM.
Shorten naptime to fix late bedtime
When she is ready to drop the nap, don't skip nap times completely - you both need the downtime. What I recommend is to keep sending them to their room for quiet time - say to her "you don't have to sleep but you must have 45-60 min quiet time". She can read a book or a quiet toy, but she must remain on her bed quietly for this time period.
On days when she doesn't nap make sure her bedtime is early enough so that she gets at least 12hr of night sleep.
I hope that helps!
Michelle S. Donaghy, Certified Gentle Sleep Coach