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Little Kids

Knowing when to phase out nap time

Children grow out of nap time at different stages. These pointers should help you decide if your child still needs a daily daytime nap.

By Dennis Rosen, Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital in Boston
Knowing when to phase out nap time

Photo by kryczka, istock

Q: When is it normal to phase out the daily nap? My son is three and I’m having a hard time putting him down in the afternoon. I will miss that quiet time!

A: There’s a lot of variation in when kids grow out of their daytime nap. It’s nearly universal in two-year-olds, but fewer than 10 percent of six-year-olds nap during the day. It sounds like your child no longer needs the nap. But keep in mind that the total amount of sleep a child needs in a 24-hour day is the same whether or not a nap is built in. If he stops napping during the day, his sleep time at night will likely increase as the “sleep deficit” from the day carries over into the night. This may translate into an earlier bedtime (or later wake-up time). So while the schedule may change, you’ll still have some quiet time for yourself.

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This article was originally published on May 30, 2012

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