Our blog this week is all about twins and how we can get twins sleeping without disturbing each other and perhaps without tag teaming you as well. Have a read for my top tips for getting twins to sleep well.
1. Try to keep twins on the same schedule. Yes, you might have one that’s quite a good sleeper and one that’s not such a good sleeper, but if you go along with one seems awake right now and the other needs to have a nap, it’s going to leave you in quite a pickle and it could be pretty messy to juggle. I’m a big fan of meeting the individual child’s needs however there are also times especially, if you are a parent or a caregiver of twins, or multiples (you may have triplets) it is really difficult if you’re trying to manage two or more different schedules. It’s hard enough when you have two young children close in age that aren’t twins, like I did and where they have different sleep schedules. I had a time where I had one on two naps a day, one on one nap a day.
This meant it seemed like someone was always napping which means you are then trying to accommodate something all the time. I think that’s harder when you have twins so if you can get them onto the same schedule, it will make life a lot easier. Keep them on the same schedule as much as you possibly can, obviously give or take a number of minutes, but on the whole, you want to have roughly the same time that you start the day. Roughly the same time for nap times and absolutely for meal times as well. Getting into that rhythm with them is key and they will soon get into a rhythm if you lead the way with that. Sleep schedule is absolutely number one.
2. If your twins are disturbing each other a lot in their sleep, is it possible to temporarily separate them? Now I’m assuming that they are room sharing. It may be that they’re in the same room with their parents, or maybe that they’re in their own room together. Is it possible that they could be in separate rooms to sleep in the short-term, particularly if you’re working through some kind of sleep shaping method and implementing a particular process with one, or both of them. It can be beneficial to temporarily separate them, work on that, improve things, and then bring them back together.
This also can work really well for nap times. So it might be that at bedtime, they have their room, they have their sleep spaces and that’s fine, but for naps, it might be that one is a better napper than the other. It may feel more manageable for you to have them napping in two different rooms. That’s absolutely fine, don’t worry about, “Well, what if it’s not the same room as sleep?” It’s fine, put the easier sleeper in the other, different location and keep the usual sleep location consistent for the one who finds sleep more challenging.
3. Help one, then the other. If they need your assistance, you’re not superhuman. You can’t stretch yourself between them constantly. So if you need to, for instance, change one nappy and the other one is crying and there’s nobody else to help you, they will be okay for a few minutes. As long as they’re safe, you know they’re in a safe space, you can deal with this nappy and then you can make sure that one is safe and then go to the other one. Don’t worry about them waiting a few minutes for you. It won’t harm them. They will learn that they just have to wait and then you come. And so long as a baby realises, and this is particularly about babies now, so long as a baby does know that you do come, they won’t get into a place of any kind of distress or fear.
They might get a bit frustrated. They might be a bit impatient, they might get a bit wound up, but it will just be a healthy, “I’m trying to tell you that I need some help here.” And that’s all it will be. It won’t be anything more than that. Then you can be at the point of thinking, “I’ll be right with you.” You finish helping that one and then you see to the other one.
It’s ingrained in us, it’s like we are wired to respond immediately, “Baby’s crying.” “Quick, fix it” – it’s what we do. So sometimes it’s important just to remind ourselves it’s okay, my baby will be okay, I’ll be right there. Because when you’re dealing with two, they do learn to wait. And actually, it’s good for them, it teaches them the art of waiting their turn, they do have to wait sometime and it helps them to develop self-regulation.
Those self-regulatory skills will go on to help them and benefit them as they learn to develop the skills for falling into sleep and going back to sleep. So right from those early stages, don’t panic, if you cannot be dealing with both simultaneously. It will be okay. When they’re going to sleep, if you are working through some kind of sleep training approach, maybe they’re a little bit older and you have toddlers for example, and they’re in two separate cots. You go to one, you do what you need to do there, go to the other, you do what you need to do there. If you alternate, you might be back and forth, sure. But just take a breath and take care of one at a time and you help them, and you reassure them, and you will get there.
Try to be consistent in how you respond every single time.
I hope this helps with those of you who have twins, or triplets, or more.
Next week we will be going into detail about routine, bedtime routine and how this can be done when you have got more than one child, especially if you are juggling on your own and you’re trying to do the bedtime routine for multiple children by yourself.
Get your hands on Sweet Dreams, our free video guide and start sleeping soundly through the night.