If I were to design an insignia of the early years, it would be a picture of a precious 2-year-old innocently napping. Once the preschool years arrive, your child’s pattern will change ... indeed their life will change. Your little one will cross the threshold—leaving the house and entering the world—never to return to the land of naps until they become a parent themselves (or reaches old age).

When exactly does this momentous transition occur? The timing is different for every child, but this chart offers a clue. Your little one will reach this passage into childhood in a series of steps. The older your child gets, the fewer naps they'll take. But, between 6 and 24 months, things can be pretty topsy-turvy! Some of these kids are still sleeping like babies while others already nap like preschoolers. However, if we look at the averages, we can at least make some good guesses. So here’s what you can expect ... more or less.

Toddler Nap Time By Age

6 to 12 months: Your darling will have shifted down to just two naps a day. Typically, the naps last one hour—two hours, max—but some kids are catnappers who pop back up to play after just 30 minutes. Most parents find that the two-nap schedule makes keeping to a regular schedule—the timing and duration of the naps—much easier. But remember, these guidelines about how long your toddler should nap aren’t set in stone— all tots are different!

12 to 24 months: Napping will be reduced to just one a day. As your child moves into the toddler years, you will be deeply grateful for their naps. Tots are such buzzing, bouncing bundles of energy that this hour or two of midday calm is critical for help­ing their parents and caregivers recover from the morning and prepare for the afternoon. You’ll find that white noise and loveys continue to be invaluable aids in keeping naptime regular and successful, even when you’re on a trip.

And what should you expect if your sweetie is in daycare? That depends! Some kids have trouble napping because of the distractions and come home exhausted. Others doze right off because they mimic all the other kids napping. Still others nap fine at school, but skip naps on the weekends because of all the activity going on at home. If your tot has trouble napping, then check out these tips on what to do if your toddler won’t nap.”

More on Naps

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.