“Twins are sleeping! If you Wake them, Take them!” This quote might seem funny, but there is some real emotion behind it. Putting twins to sleep will not require double the effort of making one baby to sleep. Indeed it will require triple, quadruple or sometimes in-numerous endeavors to succeed in the sleeping mission. There is no wonder twin parents get much worried when their twins sleep get disturbed. They would have contented hard to make their little ones have a sound sleep for at least few hours. Yes! it is undoubtedly a strenuous and wearing task to make twins sleep. In this post, I will be discussing some ideas which can help parents to handle sleep issues with toddler twins. I hope some of these suggestions could even make sense for parents with single kid.
What is so important about their kids sleep time for twin parents?
Proper sleep is much needed and significant for any growing child. Sleep gives them energy, boosts their brain activity and plays an important part in their health and development. Other than these primary reasons which benefits the kids, there is also a secondary factor which benefits the parents. Yes, the invaluable hours which the parents gain during their child’s short naps and night sleep.
When you have a toddler at home, you can somehow manage and get all the chores accomplished, spend time with the kid and even have some time for yourself to catch up with your self interests.
But when you have twin toddlers at home, you wouldn’t have the time to finish your everyday chores nor will you get any time for yourself even half an hour a day. You will be continuously baby sitting 24 x 7. The only period which can save your sanity, is the time when your twins sleep. It is their nap time and sleep time when you have to rush through the left over chores and if lucky catch some Me-Time. Their sleep hour will be your golden period!
So if by any chance someone or even yourself woke up the toddlers unknowingly, its quite natural you go mad. There was a huge effort behind the screen and it was broke!! The already exhausted parent in you, will have to baby sit now and re-plan your tasks again. Nevertheless to say, it can push you to the verge of enervation.
Twins sleep time is your breathing time.
But do you think it is easy to put them to sleep? NEVER! Putting twins to sleep is certainly a arduous task demanding your patience, tricks and even luck. Handling sleep issues with toddler twins is surely grueling!
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What can hinder in getting your toddler twins to sleep mode?
What unique problems can make this job so tough? After all they are two little kids and can’t we handle them and manage to get them into sleep mode? Yes! we can, but there are many underlying challenges. You have to crush them to get your twins to nap for at least an hour or sleep continuously for 6 – 7 hours at night.
The problems may come in any form but the primary reason being they are TWO curious, exploring, playful toddlers. This TWO factor is what will create sleep issues with toddler twins. I have listed few of them here.
Bringing them to bed
Forget about putting them sleep. Bringing them to bed itself will make you tired. You will start with a soft instruction, then shout and finally plead to get them to bed. Nothing can work. At last, when you carry one to the bed and move out to bring the other one, the first one would be out of sight. You have to run, catch, put them to bed and again repeat.
Either of them will be constantly distracting the other. Anything one twin does will arouse the other twin urging him to respond with some other action.
Play, Play and Play
They are toddlers! They will always be in the playing mood! To add to this they always have their playmate by their side. So they play when they bathe, when they eat, when they are out and definitely when they are supposed to sleep.
Never ending Conversations
Even if one feels sleepy, the other will keep talking and inviting to play. By the time the talkative one gets sleep, the other twin would have lost his sleep. They will always have their own tête-à-tête!!
Waking up too early
With tremendous effort you will put them to sleep. But don’t be surprised, if they wake up even before an hour. When one twin wakes up in between his sleep and make little noises, naturally the other twin will wake up. Even if he is sound asleep, the one who is awake will readily makes sure to wake up his dear sibling. They will start their playtime the very moment. So their naps or night sleep can be very short.
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12 Ideas to handle Sleep issues with Toddler Twins
We now know why we want our toddler twins to sleep and what factors will obstruct you in this sleep mission. Let’s check out some ideas which can assist you in managing sleep issues with toddler twins.
#1 Co-Sleeping from Birth
When you have twins, it will be more convenient, if you make them to co-sleep right from birth. They will get used to other’s distractions and disruptions. You will also be able to set a sleeping routine very easily as you will put them to sleep together.
Once they are toddlers there will be considerably less diversion as they are used to sleep together. So let them co-sleep right from their infancy. Even if not from birth, make sure to set this habit as early as possible. Better late than never.
#2 Sticking to a regular Sleeping Schedule
Set up a regular night sleep and nap schedule. Maintain the same sleep hours everyday. Like 2 hours nap after lunch everyday around 1.00 pm and 10-12 hours night sleep around 8.30 pm.
Even if one twin is tired and the other twin is active, wait for sometime until the active twin is also ready to sleep. Also wake them up at the same time. If one twin oversleeps, then he will be too active for the next nap time.
If you let them follow their own sleep schedule which may differ from each other, then be ready to baby sit all through the day.
When one twin is sleeping, the other twin will be widely awake to keep you engaged. Then you have to find some extra time out of the 24 hours to finish your other chores. Setting a standard sleeping schedule is much necessary and can greatly help in managing sleep issues with toddler twins.
#3 Include a regular bed time activity
Set up routine sleep time habits. Like,
Brushing teeth, getting into night pants, settling into bed, followed by an activity, one which will interest them.
This activity can be listening to mild music, watching a new rhyme or reading a favorite story but surely not something which will induce them to play. Also make sure this activity is unique, new, exclusive and is allowed only before bed time, so they don’t get bored pretty soon.
Make them to stick to this standard procedure everyday. This will help you to get them to bed happily. They will also realize this is what we do before we sleep and once done we need to go to sleep. As long as the activity is interesting, they will be looking forward for the bed time excitedly.
#4 Explain the do’s and dont’s
Instruct them clearly, what they can do and what they are not supposed to do during bed time. Like,
You can watch a story before going to sleep, once the story is over you have to get to sleep, no more talking or playing.
Detail the consequences, if they are not abiding by the instructions.
If you don’t follow this, then you cannot watch story during your next bed time.
Make sure they are concerned about the consequences. If not, your instructions may not seem to be important for them.
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#5 Create a good Sleeping Environment
Even we adults can’t sleep in a disturbing environment unless we are damn tired. So be clear that you keep their bed room in a way it will influence their sleep.
Keep their room dark, sound proof to some extent, away from distractions with a mild sleep time melody if required.
Ambience plays a key role in eliminating sleep issues with toddler twins.
#6 Understand their Sleep behaviors
Interpret their sleep behaviors. How well each of them sleep? Who is the good and who is the bad sleeper? Who gets disturbed easily?
Lay the disturbed sleeper in a much soundproof area of the room to avoid him getting disrupted often. Also try to lay the disturbed sleeper in an easily accessible part of the room, so that you can console and get him back to sleep without hindering the other twin during night.
#7 Co-Sleep with them
If you think you cannot control their play mode during bed times, check if co-sleeping with them can help. By co-sleeping with them, you can make sure they don’t cut short their sleep and start playing. If they are disturbed in between and wake up, you can comfort them right away and put them back to sleep.
If you cannot co-sleep with them throughout the night, you can try to be with them until they go to sleep, so that they don’t play long and start to sleep very late.
#8 Avoid Distractions
If you are co-sleeping with them, try to avoid doing anything that might distract them. There may be times when you intend to lay down with them until they sleep and then get away to carry on with your other chores.
In such cases you don’t want to fall asleep along with your twins. So you will try to keep yourself engaged when your twins are trying to sleep. You may be using some electronic gadgets which can certainly deflect your twins from sleep. Avoid using anything that would distract them like mobile phones or tablets.
This is one big mistake which many parents make (include me too 🙁 ) . Avoid this distracting factor and see it creating a huge difference.
Restricting e-gadgets during bed time will solve sleep issues with toddler twins amazingly.
#9 Keep away from Stimulating Activities
Make sure they stay away from super energizing activities before going to bed. Such exciting activities will keep them stimulated and they will never go to rest soon. As the sleep time is approaching try to indulge them in some humdrum tasks which is not very refreshing.
#10 Be cool if they wake up early
After you try all the tricks and get them to sleep still there are high chances for them to wake up pretty soon. They wouldn’t have slept even for the time you prepared them to sleep.
Either both will get disturbed by some other external factor or one will wake up the other. Your big plans during their sleep hours will be spoiled and you will be at the brink of frustration.
Always put them to sleep with the expectation they can wake up any moment.
Be prepared for it and try not to get upset. As you may show your annoyance by shouting at them. After all they are poor little kids who didn’t get any more sleep. Remember even we don’t get to sleep for long hours everyday and cut short our naps at times. So cool yourself and reschedule your chores.
#11 Give Exemptions
Not everyday will be the same. One day, your twins would have woken up late in the morning and wouldn’t feel like taking a nap. But you could have planned a lot during their nap time and feel restless when they are not getting to bed.
Relax and waive away the rules for one fine day, when things go uncontrollable .
Let them stay awake. They will catch up sleep very soon during night. There is no point in forcing them to bed when they are not ready to sleep.
#12 Separate them during Sleep time
Oh my God! I have tried every trick to handle sleep issues with toddler twins but nothing is working for us. Is this how you feel? The last option you are left with is putting them to sleep in different rooms.
But still make sure they are on the same schedule. Follow the same sleep schedule, except that you lay them in two separate rooms, so that they will stop their never ending play time and get some rest.
So that’s my list of ideas for fixing sleep issues with toddler twins. I co-sleep with my twins and I have tried all these ideas. I wouldn’t say our bed times are super easy but we don’t struggle much either.
Putting twins to sleep is an incredible job!
But we can attempt to make it easier with some tricks/tips and live in peace 🙂
Hope some of these tips suited parents with single toddler as well.
If you found these ideas useful, feel free to share it with your family and friends!
Also, if you have more valuable ideas for managing sleep issues with toddler twins, please share it with us in the comments section.
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Image credits : Main image by evilpeacock via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA ; What is the necessity of Twins Sleep by donnierayjones via Foter.com / CC BY ; What causes sleep issues with toddler twins? by goldberg via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Note : Added text to the original images used in this post.