You always hear about how twins should be on the same schedule, from eating to sleeping. Synchronizing their activities makes the day more organized, especially if you’re alone. But what do you do when you notice one twin is ready to drop a nap, but the other isn’t?
Baby A might take forever to nap or flat out refuses, while Baby B is fast asleep. If you accommodate Baby A’s wishes to stay awake, Baby B then has a meltdown and loses it without his coveted nap.
When only one twin is ready to drop a nap
All babies are different, and nothing like having twins makes this clearer. You may have twins who seem to be polar opposites in everything, from appearance to habits and yes, to sleep.
If you find one twin ready to drop a nap when the other isn’t, try these following options which worked pretty well for me:
1. Push the first nap up
Isn’t it too often that twins learn the art of negotiation from day one? This is especially true when it comes to finding the middle ground between one twin’s need for naps and the other’s lack of it.
How does this work? Let’s say your twins had been napping from 9:30-11am, and again at 2-3:30pm. Except Baby A has been resisting the 9:30am nap and isn’t sleepy enough to rest the entire time. Sometimes she’s even awake until 11am, which ends up being the time she’s finally ready to sleep.
Start fiddling with their schedule gradually. You might try putting them both down at 10-11:30am to get Baby A sleepy enough. If that doesn’t work, you could bump it up even further to 10:30am-12pm. Pushing that first nap up a little can help Baby A fall asleep while still avoiding a meltdown from Baby B.
2. Transition both to drop a nap, but let the other one sleep in
Another option is to go ahead and transition both to drop a nap, but let the other keep sleeping past the designated awake time.
Let’s say you’d like to go from two naps to one. Gradually transition the twins to drop that second nap and take one long mid-day nap from 12-1:30pm. But instead of waking Baby B at the same time as Baby A at 1:30pm, allow him to keep sleeping until he’s ready to wake up on his own.
3. Put both twins down, even if just to rest
Worried that Baby A isn’t going to sleep for that morning nap? One option is to continue with Baby B’s schedule while letting Baby A rest.
We can’t force our kids to fall asleep, but we can implement a time for them to rest. Keep their current nap schedule—let’s say, two naps from 9:30-11am and 2-3:30pm, but help your non-napper realize that it’s also fine to lay in bed, relax and rest.
Keep her in bed for at least 30 minutes encourage her to rest. If she continues to resist, then get her up at that point while letting the other keep sleeping.
And keep your activities with Baby A low-key. While she’s allowed to be out of her room, she should still learn to use this time for quiet activities. Take her with you as you do tasks like folding laundry, or read a book while you both wait for her twin to wake up.
4. Wake Baby B to accommodate Baby A’s awake time
If you keep both babies on their current nap schedule, wake Baby B earlier than usual to accommodate Baby A’s awake time.
Using the same examples as above, let’s say Baby B slept right away at 9:30am, but Baby A didn’t at all. Cut their morning nap short and get them both up at 10:30am. This makes sure Baby A doesn’t get too restless in her bed, but gives Baby B enough time to nap.
And hopefully both will be sleepy enough to nap right away during their afternoon nap.
5. Keep them on the same schedule
Regardless of which methods you use to manage your twins’ different napping needs, keep their schedules consistent. Don’t let Baby A have one nap for the day while Baby B has two—you don’t want to keep Baby B on the two-nap schedule while Baby A naps from 12-2pm.
As different as their needs may be, keeping two separate schedules will make your days more hectic and difficult to get anything done. One twin might be ready for nap, while the other is eager to play at the park.
Even if Baby A only sleeps for one nap, continue to put both down for two to keep them on track. The same is true for snacks and meal times—keep these consistent instead of having two separate lunch times for each child.
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It’s a challenge keeping the twins on the same schedule, especially as one seems more willing to keep napping while the other isn’t. Try the tactics above and see which one works for you.
Maybe you’ll help them adjust by pushing that first morning nap later to put Baby A down when she’s more tired. Perhaps you’ll transition them both to drop a nap while allowing Baby B to keep sleeping.
You might even put Baby A down, even if just to rest, while waking Baby B earlier than usual to accommodate his twin.
And no matter which method you choose, keep them on the same schedule. Avoid having two separate schedules for meals and naps, as that makes it harder to go about your day.
Twins have always had to learn how to negotiate from day one, and naps are no different. They’ll learn to accommodate each other’s needs, from wanting to keep sleeping to finally dropping that nap.
Get more tips:
- When You Don’t Have a “Village”: How to Take Care of Twins Alone
- How to Be Out with Twins Alone
- Helping Your Toddler Transition from Two Naps to One
- How Caring for Newborn Twins is Different from Singletons
- When One Twin Doesn’t Want to Nap
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