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Expert advice

29th Nov 2023

How often should my little one nap? Expert advice for each age group


Figuring out the best nap schedule for your little one can be tough.

It is so important for your baby or toddler to take naps during the day because it helps with their cognitive development.

Unlike adults, children who are well rested find it easier to get to sleep at night, so they should continue to take naps until around age 3.

Naps can help their:

  • growth
  • development
  • health

When should my baby or toddler nap?

According to the HSE: “Babies nap for between three to four hours per day. At two months of age, your baby will take around four naps a day.

“They will reduce this to one 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 often 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.