Hello. I have twins who are 20 months old.
At nap time and bed time, one twin falls asleep readily. However, the other twin fights sleep.
She doesn't cry or seem too upset. She just sits up in her crib and plays around, babbles to herself, tries to poke at her brother in the adjacent crib, giggles, rolls, etc.
But she typically fights sleep for about an hour, if not more. I've found that going in and disturbing her by trying to rock her will only invigorate her to delay sleeping even further.
Because I'm not sure what to do about it, I just let her play in her crib until her brother wakes up or nap time is over. If she starts to actually cry or get angry, then I'll let her out to play while her brother sleeps.
I've been trying to keep them on the same sleeping schedule.
Am I handling this right, or is there a better way?
Thank you for your question. It is a question that many mothers of twins face. It actually sounds like you are doing a great job!
Keeping a routine is important. Insisting on nap/rest time gives your twins a sense of consistency. Consistency is what helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. Even though they do not fall asleep at the same time, the physical rest and quiet time is beneficial. If the twin that takes longer to fall asleep is not disruptive to the other twin, I would leave the situation alone. Just let her babble to herself, sit up, roll, etc. That is part of her self soothing and winding down process.
Engaging the twins in a calming, ritualistic activity right before nap time signals to them that nap time is approaching (remove shoes, give them a warm bath or wipe face with a warm bath cloth, read a story, soft music, etc.). Also, make sure the bedroom is conducive to sleep. Keep the bedroom dark both at night and during naptime. Bright lights stimulate brain activity, making falling asleep more difficult. If your children are afraid of the dark, you can use a dim nightlight - but only if necessary. Keep the door closed or almost closed and avoid going in and out during nap time unless absolutely necessary.
When it comes to daytime sleep schedules during these early years, children's needs tend to change over time. As children get older, they may have less of a need for naps or the time frame will shorten. When they begin to express themselves verbally, they may claim that they are not tired (which may or may not be the case). Even when children give up naps altogether, it is beneficial to continue the practice of daily quiet time in their room.
Hope this helps. Keep on keeping on!
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
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