What do you do when a 15 month old will only nap in the morning?

I don’t know if this is normal or not: my almost-15-month old is a good overnight sleeper (11.5-12 hours overnight, 7 p.m. to 6:30 or 7 a.m.). After several weeks of optional afternoon naps, she seems to have dropped to one nap. My question: this nap has ranged in length from 20 minutes (ouch!) to three hours, but lately has been 1 hour several days going, and typically we’ve put her down between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Is this enough sleep?! She looks tired to me and seems a little whinier than usual (or maybe this is emerging toddler behaviors?). Any tips for extending the nap? Her room is cool, dark, and quiet. If this is not normal and not easily solved, happy to schedule a consult … thanks so much!

This is a common problem with the nap transition. Some toddlers drop the afternoon nap, but keep the morning nap, which leads to an imbalance in sleep distribution. This wacky schedule is almost certainly to blame for her erratic napping. I would move her nap later to 12:30 or so. You are probably thinking that is too late, but it’s really important that the nap be centered in the day. In addition, toddlers need to build up sleep pressure before the single nap in order to get into deep sleep. You will need to pull out all of the stops to keep her distracted during the morning, but that should help her naps and once her sleep distribution is balanced it should be easy for her to make it until 12:30. Good luck!

Follow up:

Day 1: Phew, it was a long road to 12:30 today, but she napped 12:15 to 2:08! I’ll take it! Thank you so much!

Day 2: Today she slept 12:30 to 3! Wow. Thanks again!


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