Getting twins to wind down for a nap can be a challenge.

How to Deal With Twins and Naptime

by Kay Ireland

Trying to soothe one toddler to sleep is hard enough, but if you have twins, you have double the trouble come nap time. Since twins can act as alarms for their siblings, it's important to try and get them to nap at the same time while still respecting their developing individuality. In general, an established routine can delineate nap time from play time while giving you a few minutes of reprieve.

1 Experiment with different sleeping arrangements to see what works for you and your family. Some parenting experts suggest allowing twins to sleep in the same bed, but if one is constantly climbing out or disturbing the other child, separate beds and even separate rooms might be more appropriate. There's no perfect way to get your twins to nap -- as long as they're safe, it's all about what works to get the most shut-eye.

2 Establish a predictable nap time routine that tells your twins that it's time to settle down. Whether you read a book, eat lunch, have some quiet time or sing a specific song, having a predictable routine creates a signal that nap time is coming. A routine also helps you know when to expect cranky, tired behavior from your little ones -- probably not the best time to hit the grocery store or visit Great Aunt Pearl.

3 Have your twins lie down in their bed -- or beds -- at the same time each day. Use soft lighting and a quiet voice to run through the nap time routine. Even if your toddlers aren't great nappers, it sends a message that it's quiet time.

4 Attend to your calmer child first if one of your little ones tends to wind down more easily than the other. That way, you don't spend all of your effort on the higher-needs toddler, and both get equal face time. Get your calmer twin settled, read a story and sing songs. Chances are that your more rambunctious twin will be interested in all of the rituals and begin settling when he realizes that you're offering attention to his quieter sibling.

5 Install a white noise machine -- or fan -- in your twins' room. The soothing sound helps drown out any household noises so nap time isn't interrupted by barking dogs, ringing doorbells or the washing machine, and you can actually get something done during sleep time.

6 Assess your twins' need for a nap as they age. If one or both are resisting naps and seem fine as they progress through toddlerhood, you might need to rearrange around just one nap per day or drop the nap completely in favor of an earlier bedtime. As your little ones change and develop, the need for a nap may diminish, but you can still institute "quiet time" -- a time when they can play quietly or look at books in a calm spot, such as their bedroom.

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