Can naps take away from night sleep in a 3.5 month old?

Hi! I have a toddler/preschooler question regarding optimal nap time and how to push the nap up in the day. We have fallen into a pattern of putting my 3.5 y/o daughter down around 2 for her nap and she often doesn’t fall asleep for ~30 mins. She often sleeps 2 hrs. We try for an 8:30 bedtime, but she takes until 9 or so to fall asleep. Would an earlier nap help with bedtime, or should I shorten the nap as well? (Please say no to the latter!) I am trying to sync it up with my 16 month olds 2nd nap, but realize I can’t have it all, and also assume he will be moving to one nap soon. Thanks!!

A new study just proved what we really knew all along how beneficial naps are to preschoolers – so we always encourage parents to preserve the nap! However, it does create a short night in many cases! Think of it like math puzzle. If your daughter needs 11-12 hours (total!) in 24 hours and 2 of those hours are coming during the day, that leaves 9-10 hours at night. What works best for your family? It is usually best if the nap is sort of the midpoint of your child’s day so she has enough wake time, play and activity in the evening before bed. Most preschoolers need 5 hours minimum of wake time before bed which is why you are noticing resistance at 8:30pm. The study showed that even a 1 hour nap is greatly beneficial so shortening the nap isn’t a terrible option if needed, however your daughter will still need plenty of awake, play, exercise time in the afternoon before bed EVEN with an hour long nap.


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