So far, your twins have had the same schedule, but what if only one twin is ready to drop a nap and the other isn’t? Find out here!
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. The shorter naps mean she’s in a cranky mood and turning the rest of the day into a disaster.
But if you accommodate Baby A’s wishes to stay awake, Baby B isn’t getting enough sleep without her coveted nap time.
How do you cope with two different sleep needs during this nap transition?
When only one twin is ready to drop a nap
All babies are different, and nothing like having twins makes this clearer. Just because they’re twins doesn’t mean they’ll hit their developmental milestones as the same time. You may even have twins who seem to be polar opposites in everything, from appearance to habits, and yes, to sleep.
If you find one twin is ready to drop a nap when the other isn’t, try these following options that 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 daytime 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 naptime 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 to create a new schedule.
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 can help Baby A fall asleep while still avoiding a meltdown from Baby B.
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2. Transition both to drop a nap, but let 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 wake 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 nap from 12-2pm. But instead of waking Baby B at the same time as Baby A at 2pm, allow her to keep sleeping until she’s ready to wake up on her own.
3. Put both twins down, even if to rest
Worried that Baby A isn’t going to sleep for that morning nap? Another 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 daytime sleep schedule—let’s say, two naps from 9:30-11am and 2-3:30pm. But if Baby A takes a short nap, help her learn that it’s also fine to lay in bed the rest of the time.
Keep her in bed for a half hour and encourage her to rest. If she continues to resist, then get her up after that 30-minute mark while letting the other keep sleeping.
And keep your activities with Baby A low-key after you get her up. While she’s allowed to be out of her room, she should still learn to use this time for quiet time. 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 can be sleepy enough to nap right away during their afternoon nap.
5. Keep them on the same schedule
Regardless of which method you use to manage your twins’ different napping needs, keep their routines 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 can 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.
For instance, 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.
Keeping the twins on the same schedule can be a challenge, especially when one is more willing to keep napping while the other isn’t. Try the tactics above and see which one works for you during this transition period.
Push that first morning nap later to put Baby A down when she’s more tired. Or transition them both to drop a nap while allowing Baby B to keep sleeping. Try putting Baby A down, even if 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 can 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
- Raising Twins After a Singleton
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All of your ideas only address one baby wanting to drop the morning nap. One of my twins will no longer sleep in the afternoon. They both sleep fine in the morning. And I one sleeps in the afternoon. Would your suggestion be the same…. Push back the morning nap for both? I mean, that’s really the only option, right? If I want to keep them on the same schedule.
Nina Garcia says
Hi Bre! Yeah, I’m a fan of keeping them on the same schedule, especially when it comes to the number of naps. I wouldn’t mind if one twin slept longer than the other to accommodate, but it’s pretty difficult to have one twin nap once and the other twice. If one twin is ready to drop to one nap, then yes, I’d still push the morning nap later so that eventually it becomes one long mid-day nap. I’d let the one who takes two naps normally a chance to sleep in as well. If you feel he needs that afternoon nap still, a quick cat nap might help, but just be sure to wake him up with plenty of time to be sleepy for bedtime.