Some children hold on to their naps until age 5! Though I don’t personally know what it’s like to have a child still napping at that age… I do have some tips for those of you who do and you’re struggling with preschool or kindergarten interfering with the said nap.
You don’t want to miss:
Learn how much sleep your child needs
3 options to help ensure your child gets the sleep they need
Find out what to do if all else fails [spoiler: EARLY BEDTIME]
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Children usually drop naps around age 3, but some hold on to them much longer.
Preschoolers (3 and 4-year-olds) and Kindergarteners (5 and 6-year-olds) need 10-13 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period, so if your child is on the lower end of those needs, they have likely already dropped their nap and you don’t need to be listening to this episode 😆
For those that have a preschooler or kindergartener on the higher end of the spectrum, your child may want to have some of that needed sleep during the day. Obviously, if they’re in school, this creates an issue with making that happen.
Here are a couple of ways you can go about this:
1. Give them a catnap after school.
Depending on when they get home will help determine how long they can nap, if at all.
If they’re getting home before 4, a ~30-minute catnap (one sleep cycle) will be enough to get them to make it to bedtime (an early bedtime, possibly).
If you’re doing pick-up around 4, but not much later than that, letting them nap on the way home can help.
2. Give them an early bedtime
As mentioned above, some will need an early bedtime even with a catnap. But, always preserve nighttime sleep over a nap. So, if a catnap will push bedtime much later than 8 pm, skip the nap and do an early bedtime.
3. Adjust their schedule
Now that school is underway, this option may not be an option, but some preschool programs are only a few days out of the week versus every weekday. If your child’s still napping, choosing just a few days instead of 5 can help them with that adjustment. Then, on their off days, they can nap at home and do the other options on preschool days.
Depending on your child’s sleep needs, they may end up dropping their nap and consolidating all their sleep during the night (early bedtimes will allow for that extra sleep without messing up the time they need to wake up to get ready for school).
Obviously, this will take some trial and error to find what works best for your child and your family, but consistency and patience (and time) will pay off!