Parents expect to lose sleep. Newborns are too young for an established sleep cycle and even toddlers and preschool children would often prefer to play than nap. Parents of twins face special challenges, particularly because twins don’t always sleep at the same time. The good news is that there are many things parents can do to encourage their twins to get the sleep they need.
Things You'll Need
- Security object
- White noise generator or fan
- Baby monitor
Put newborn twins in the same crib. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Health Service of Great Britain recommend placing newborn twins in a single crib. Many newborn twins are comforted by the presence of their womb-mate. The NHS points out that not only is this form of co-sleeping safe, it also helps the newborns regulate their temperatures and sleep cycle.
Move babies to their own cribs. When your babies are old enough to roll over and start waking each other, move them to their own cribs. This gives each baby their own sleeping area while still keeping them close to each other. The AAP points out that twins are accustomed to their siblings. The other baby’s cries are just another part of the environmental noise, which also includes the ringing phone, the television, the lawn mower, the opening and closing of doors and many other things.
Use a naptime routine. When they are still in infancy, set a routine before naptime. This may include a song or a story. Add the child’s security object such as a blanket or toy.
Use a fan or white noise machine. As toddlers develop, they need less sleep than babies. They not only nap less but they also sleep lighter. A fan or white noise machine helps to drown out all daytime sounds, including a noisy twin who doesn’t want to sleep.
Recognize the differences in twins. Even identical twins don’t behave exactly the same. By the time they are toddlers, your twins may have developed very different nap behaviors. One twin may be easy to put to sleep, while the other may have a hard time going to sleep. Start your nap routine with the twin that goes to sleep easier first. This gives primary attention to the child that has the best behavior. In addition, if you take too much time working with the twin that is hard to put asleep for a nap, the easy twin might be asleep by the time you get to her. This means that she misses out on your undivided pre-nap attention. Over time, she will learn to fight sleep and copy the poor naptime behavior of her twin.
Reward good naptime behavior in preschoolers. Create a chart that rewards your twins for good behavior and explain how you will use it. Don’t base your rewards on sleep. Instead, focus on each child’s behavior. For example, you may want to give each child a sticker if he keeps his hands and feet to himself, stays quiet and doesn’t get out of bed during naptime. In this example, each twin may earn as many as three stickers for each naptime. This helps the child focus on making specific actions. Set a goal and when each child earns the specified number of stickers, he will get a special afternoon with Mom or a fun outing with Dad. A video or audio monitor will help you track each child’s behavior.
Move one twin to another room during naptime. It might be possible that one twin may be ready to give up naps before the other.
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