It is important for your baby or toddler to take naps during the day. Children who are well rested find it easier to get to sleep at night. Children will usually continue to take naps until around age 3.
Naps can help their:
When your baby or toddler should nap
Babies nap for between 3 to 4 hours per day. At 2 months of age, your baby will take around 4 naps a day. They will reduce this to 1 in the middle of the day at around 12 to 15 months of age.
You should space out the length of time between your baby or toddler's naps.
A baby or toddler who naps frequently will not get the same benefit as one who has solid naps. Look at how long they have been awake and judge when they're due to sleep.
Spacing out naps
- Up to 3 months: there may be about 1 to 2 hours between naps
- 3 to 6 months: there may be about 2 to 2.5 hours between naps
- 6 to 9 months: children usually reduce to 2 naps a day
- 1 year or over: children usually reduce to 1 nap a day
- 3 years or over: phase out naps
Babies over 9 months of age should not sleep after 3.30 pm in the day.
Older children should avoid naps after 3.30 pm as it can lead to a later bedtime.
Help your baby or toddler nap
Your child will find it easier to nap during the day if you:
- have a consistent daily routine so they know when it is time to nap
- do not let them play or relax in bed - it should be for sleeping only
- keep their room dark during nap time
- take off their shoes and outer clothes so they do not become too warm
- give them a special blanket or toy as a comforter after 12 months of age
- read them a story in a calming voice
It is better to let your child wake up on their own, as they will be in a better mood.