Getting toddler twins to sleep

Bedtime difficulties are extremely common during the toddler years, especially with twins. Parents hoping their sleep issues will be over once their twins leave the early baby years are often in for a big surprise, especially when toddler twins learn to climb out of their cribs or toddler beds. Here are some strategies to try to get your toddler twins on a sleeping schedule:
  1. Make sure they get lots of physical activity during the day so they’re worn out at night. I can always tell when my twins haven’t had any outdoor playtime because they’re much less likely to sleep at night.
  2. If they’re still napping during the day, it may be time to start cutting back on the amount of sleep they get during the day. Some kids do give up their naps at this age. They’ll be a lot more ready for bed if they haven’t been over-rested during the day.
  3. Twins feed off each other’s energy. You might need to separate them just to get them to sleep. If they must share a bedroom, perhaps you can lay one of them down on a sleeping bag in the master bedroom, and then transfer him/her to bed once he or she is asleep. Being alone might bore them enough to put them to sleep.
  4. Let them “read” by themselves in their beds. They think they’re “getting away” with not having to go to sleep, and yet looking at books might make them sleepy.
  5. If they pester you with requests for drinks or the bathroom, make a rule that there’s only one potty break and one drink break after bedtime, and be tough. Don’t let them whine and convince you that they just MUST get up again! Tell them ahead of time that they’re only allowed one time up. When they yell, “Mom, I need another drink,” don’t ignore them because they’ll just yell more. Say instead, “You already had your break. Good night!” Let them know you’re acknowledging them, but not giving in.
  6. You might need to make their bedtime later. Some kids are just natural “night owls.” I know some parents who are able to get their kids in bed by 7:30 or 8:00, but mine have always done better with a 9:00 bedtime.
  7. Make sure they have very little soda, caffeine and sugar, especially after dinner. Allow them a small glass of milk at night as milk has natural sleep-inducing qualities (but not so much that it makes them wet themselves at night).
  8. Make sure they have a comfort object to sleep with, such as a special blanket or stuffed toy. Try to reserve it only for bedtime so they look forward to being able to cuddle with it at night.
  9. Make sure the room is dark enough at night. If the moon shines in their room, get blinds. However, you might still need a nightlight for them if they get scared. My twins know that no “monsters” will come around when the blue light (their nightlight) is on in their room.
  10. If they’re afraid to fall asleep because of nightmares, teach them that they’ll have happy dreams if they think of something they like before they go to sleep. Coach them to think about playing in the park or going to the zoo at bedtime.
  11. Follow the same “winding-down” routine every night. Make sure they have a warm bath, soft pajamas, and cuddling during story time. Teach them how to watch the clock, and when the “big hand reaches the top,” it’s time to go to bed. They’ll have fun telling YOU when it’s time for bed.

Of course, these methods aren’t necessarily going to work the first night, but if you continue to follow them, you’ll soon be able to notice a difference. Remember to be consistent and firm, and your bedtime difficulties will be resolved.