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Sleep Training and Getting Twins on a Sleep Schedule

Updated: Jan 23

Book Review: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep Training Your Multiples.

Exhausted from the constant fight to get your twins to bed and/or struggling with the never-ending sleep interruptions night after night?


Or, perhaps you're pregnant with twins or other multiples and looking for ideas and resources on sleep training and sleep schedules. Help is here!


The Bottom Line: Buy this book!


Before my twins were born, I had many things on my mind. From twin pregnancy complications to trying to source two of everything to, let's face it, just feeling plain overwhelmed and exhausted, the fact that my babies might need a little extra help when it came to getting them on a sleep schedule simply fell off the radar. About six weeks after they were born, and facing double the sleep depravation, I realized this was a BIG - no, HUGE - mistake!


As the parent of twins, I faced the challenge of not only getting one baby on a sleep schedule, I had to deal with the fact I had two babies with differing sleep needs and completely different sleep patterns.


Learn from my misstep: if you haven't read this book, buy it now! Read on to find out why....and get some quick tips for sleep training your twins and getting them onto a great sleep schedule.


Books About Twin Sleep Training and Sleep Schedules

"Health Sleep Habits, Happy Twins" really helped me understand the basic building blocks of getting each of my twins on a great sleep schedule. It also helped me to recognize the sleep signs for each child, which were (and still are to this day) different. Dr. Weissbluth's tried-and-true sleep methodology helped restore sanity as well as sleep to our household!


Quick Tips for Sleep Training & Setting Sleep Schedules for Twins

Every set of twins is different, but here are a few tips for things I figured out along the way and how I managed my twins' sleep training and setting sleep schedules:

  • Set a schedule and stick to it. Kids thrive on routine. I really liked it when my twins were little itty bitty babies and still portable in infant car seats. They could go anywhere and still stay on routine! As they got older, however, things changed. They needed a regular bedtime (and by that I mean they were actually in their own crib/bed by a certain time) and we really had to watch for the following.....

  • Look for sleep signals/cues. This was, hands down, one of the biggest take-aways for me from this book. There is a natural 'lull' in activity when your baby or toddler is tired. Some signs are obvious, like rubbing eyes or crying. Some are more subtle. Whatever signs your child shows, pay attention! You have a short window of opportunity to get them into bed and easily off to sleep before their brains become wired and they start to do the exact opposite: they become overly active. For one of my twins, if we missed that window in the evening, they became not only totally hyper, they would have night terrors. If you've never experienced that, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. My child would scream and cry, with arms/legs flailing and eyes wide open in the middle of the night. These episodes often lasted 20 minutes or more. They would have no recall of this happening the next day. To this day, I see toddlers up late at night who are clearly in this overly-wired state. Your child is not being energetic. They have simply gone way beyond the time they needed to be in bed.

  • Set a pre-bedtime routine. It doesn't matter what this is, but setting a regular pre-bedtime routine and doing (more of less) the same things every night sends the signal to your twins that it is time for bed. From brushing teeth, to telling a bedtime story or singing a song, following the same steps each evening creates a sense of "OK, this means it's time to go sleep" for your twins. I am not making any suggestions or recommendations on the "cry it out" methodology. Dr. Weissbluth's book has some insights/thoughts on this, but I recommend doing what you feel is right for you and your twins.

  • Be prepared nap times may differ for twins. One of my twins had a much shorter morning nap from Day 1 and also dropped the second nap much sooner. I had to move each twin into a different room for nap time at an early age. They would keep each other awake and play/babble/laugh/throw stuffies at one another (not to mention one showed the other how to climb out of their crib....) and we always paid the price that night if one of them didn't get as long a nap(s) as needed.

  • Sleep begets sleep.  I am a firm believer in this. Once the sleep routine kicked in, it became easier and easier to get my twins to bed and for them to stay asleep throughout the night. Just like adults, I also found a good night's sleep definitely helped with my twins' moods, especially during the "terrible twos" (times two!). Now my twins are older, we still have to manage their sleep. One twin becomes quiet and withdrawn when they are overly tired, the other becomes hyper. You're in this for the long haul: getting them on a sleep schedule now during the early years will pay off as they get older.


Long Term Benefits of Good Sleep Schedules


Each child's needs are different. I learned a lot from this book, but your twins/multiples may need different approaches. However, my experience was that following some of the sleep training tips and getting our twins on a good sleep schedule when they were little paid dividends as they become toddlers - and beyond. Once we established sleep schedules, we stuck to them and they worked like a charm in the toddler years. It's never too late to start. For this reason, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins" gets two thumbs up from this twin mama!


Looking for other hints, tips and product ideas for parenting twins?



 

Although I am happy to share ideas and solutions for life with twins and higher order multiples, I am not endorsing effectiveness, safety or making any other claims about use and suitability of methods or products. Always do your own research and make decisions based on what is best for you and your family. 

 

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