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Understanding the Nap Schedule for a 1-Year-Old: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating your child’s first year of life can be a whirlwind of new experiences, including adjusting to the ever-evolving sleep patterns of your little one. One of the most commonly asked questions by new parents revolves around the optimal nap schedule for a 1-year-old. This comprehensive guide will help you decipher your child’s sleep needs and create a nap schedule that fosters healthy development and a peaceful home environment.

A Look at the Ideal Nap Schedule for a 1-Year-Old

One-year-olds typically require between 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. This includes nighttime sleep and one to two naps during the day. The transition from two naps to one typically begins around the 12-15 months mark. Here is a general guide to what a 1-year-old’s nap schedule might look like:

  • Morning nap: around 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
  • Afternoon nap: around 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
  • Nighttime sleep: 7:00 PM – 7:00 AM

Signs Your 1-Year-Old is Ready to Transition to One Nap

While some 1-year-olds still benefit from two daily naps, others may be ready to transition to just one. Here are signs that your child might be ready to make that shift:

  1. Your child consistently refuses one of their naps.
  2. Their naps are shorter than usual, or they have difficulty falling asleep at night.
  3. They can stay awake for 4-6 hours at a stretch without showing signs of fatigue.

Understanding Nap Schedules for 1-Year-Olds

What is a normal nap schedule for a 1 year old?

A normal nap schedule for a 1-year-old typically includes 2 naps per day in the early part of the year, with a transition to 1 nap around the 12 to 15 month mark. The specific timing may vary, but a common schedule is a morning nap around 9:30 AM, an afternoon nap around 2:00 PM, and nighttime sleep starting around 7:00 PM.

Schedule for 1 year old with 2 naps

When a 1-year-old is still taking two naps, it’s often structured as follows:

  • Morning nap: around 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
  • Afternoon nap: around 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
  • Nighttime sleep: 7:00 PM – 7:00 AM

What time should a 1 year old go to bed?

A 1-year-old typically should go to bed between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, with 7:00 PM being a common bedtime. However, the specific bedtime can depend on the child’s wake-up time and nap schedule.

What is the wake window for a 1 year old?

The wake window, or the period of time a child stays awake between periods of sleep, for a 1-year-old typically ranges from 3 to 4 hours.

Nap Duration: How Long is Too Long?

Is a 3 hour nap too long for a 1 year old?

For some 1-year-olds, a 3-hour nap may be just fine, especially if they are transitioning towards one nap per day. However, if a long nap interferes with nighttime sleep or other daily activities, it might be a good idea to wake the child after 2 hours.

Is a 4 hour nap too long for a 1 year old?

Generally, a 4-hour nap is considered too long for a 1-year-old, as it could interfere with nighttime sleep. Aim to limit naps to no more than 2 hours at a time, unless your child is ill or showing signs of needing extra sleep.

Is a 30 minute nap good for a 1 year old?

While a 30-minute nap might not be ideal, it’s not uncommon for 1-year-olds, especially if they’re transitioning to one nap per day. If your child wakes up happy and can stay alert until their next sleep period, a shorter nap may be sufficient.

Nap Transitions: From Two Naps to One

Is 1 nap a day ok for 1 year old?

Yes, around 12 to 15 months, many 1-year-olds start transitioning from two naps to one. This is perfectly normal and okay if it aligns with your child’s sleep needs.

Is 12 months too early for one nap?

Some children may begin transitioning to one nap at 12 months, but most commonly this happens around 15 months. Watch your child’s cues. If they are consistently refusing a nap or not showing signs of tiredness, they might be ready for the transition.

Should a 1 year old have 1 or 2 naps?

Earlier in their first year, 1-year-olds usually have two naps. As they approach 15 months, many will transition to one nap. Both are normal and depend on your child’s developmental stage and individual sleep needs.

How do you tell if it’s time to drop a nap?

Signs that your child is ready to drop a nap include consistently refusing one of the naps, having difficulty falling asleep at night, or being able to stay awake for 4-6 hours at a time without showing signs of fatigue.

What is the 30 90 nap rule?

The 30-90 nap rule is a guideline suggesting that if your child wakes up within 30 minutes of falling asleep for a nap, they likely need more sleep and should be encouraged to go back to sleep. However, if they nap for 90 minutes or longer, they have completed a full sleep cycle and it’s okay to let them wake up naturally.

Nap Challenges and Solutions

Should I feed my toddler before or after naps?

It’s often a good idea to feed your toddler before naps so they don’t wake up due to hunger. However, avoid feeding them immediately before sleep to prevent potential issues with reflux or vomiting.

How long can a 1 year old go without a nap?

1-year-olds can typically stay awake for 3 to 4 hours at a time. However, skipping naps entirely may lead to overtiredness and difficulties with nighttime sleep.

Why is it so hard to put my 1 year old to nap?

Several factors could make it difficult for your 1-year-old to nap, including being overtired, under-tired, or undergoing developmental milestones. Keeping a consistent nap routine and ensuring a suitable sleep environment can often help.

Should I let my 1 year old cry it out for naps?

The “cry it out” method is a personal decision and can be a part of sleep training. If you choose to use it, it’s important to ensure your baby’s needs are met before you begin and to check on them at regular intervals. Always consult with a pediatrician before starting any sleep training program.

What to do when 1 year old refuses sleep?

If your 1-year-old refuses to sleep, try adjusting their nap schedule, ensuring they have a calming pre-nap routine, and making sure their sleep environment is comfortable and free from distractions.

What if my 1 year old won’t nap in the crib?

If your 1-year-old resists napping in their crib, ensure the crib is a comfortable and safe environment. Consistency and routine can help your child associate the crib with naptime. If resistance continues, consider speaking with a pediatrician or a child sleep expert.

When should you stop holding baby for naps?

There’s no set age when you should stop holding your baby for naps. Some babies may start to fall asleep independently by 4-6 months, while others may take longer. It’s important to transition gradually and ensure your baby feels safe and secure throughout the process.

How long is too long to let a 1 year old cry it out?

How long to let a baby cry it out is a personal decision and can vary based on the child’s age and the parent’s comfort level. Some parents use the “graduated” method, starting with 5 minutes and gradually increasing. However, it’s important to always ensure your child’s needs are met and to check on them regularly.

What is the cry it out method for naps?

The “cry out” method, also known as the Ferber method or controlled crying, involves letting your baby cry for a predetermined amount of time before offering comfort. This method aims to teach your baby to self-soothe and fall asleep independently. However, it’s important to consult with a pediatrician before starting any sleep training method.

How Can Help

Recognizing that each child’s sleep patterns and needs are unique, offers personalized advice and resources to guide you through the process. Whether you’re establishing a nap schedule for a 1-year-old or dealing with nighttime sleep disruptions, the team at is here to help. With scientifically-backed tips and a supportive community, takes the guesswork out of creating a sleep schedule that works for your child and your family.


Creating an effective nap schedule for a 1-year-old is an important part of your child’s development. Understanding the signs of sleep readiness and adapting to your child’s changing needs can make this transition smoother. Remember, at, you’re never alone in this journey. We’re here to support and guide you every step of the way.

1 thought on “Understanding the Nap Schedule for a 1-Year-Old: A Comprehensive Guide”

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