There is no one-size-fits-all rule for napping and when children are ready to stop napping. Even a child whose napping days are long past may occasionally need some extra shut-eye. Whether or not your child needs a nap depends largely on how much sleep he is getting at night.
In a 24-hour period, children age 1 to 3 need 12 to 14 hours of sleep; from age 3 to 6, children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep; and between the ages of 7 and 12, they need 10 to 11 hours of total sleep. A young toddler who sleeps 12 hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. may need a 2-hour nap; but an older toddler may not need to nap at all to receive his full quota of sleep.
While your child’s sleep needs may vary from day to day and he may still need the occasional nap, the following behaviors are good indicators that his napping days are over:
- Your child spends naptime playing and does not fall asleep.
- Your child is not sleepy at bedtime and is still awake an hour after bedtime.
- Whether at naptime or bedtime, your child repeatedly comes out of his room and tries to engage your attention.
When your child is ready to give up naps, it’s time to start substituting quiet time for naptime. Even if your child doesn’t need a nap, he still needs some down time in the middle of the day.