The holidays are here and while the holiday season usually makes you think of incredible food, spending time with your family, and gifts for many, for those of you with twins, all that celebrating can also mean missed or shortened naps and crazy night waking, which can make parents grumpy!
Today, I’m sharing 5 tips to help you keep sleep intact for your twins and enjoy the holidays that much more:
5 Tips To Better Holiday Sleep For Your Twins
Be careful about late bedtimes – Your family members are going to want to spend as much time with your twins as possible, but too many late bedtimes in a row can wreak havoc on a sleep schedule. Late bedtimes can mean more night-waking and waking up earlier the next day, which might mean naps go awry, too. And if your twins share a room, a short naps or night-waking from one twin will likely disturb and wake the other - something no parent of twins wants to deal with! Pretty quickly, all that work getting on the same schedule can go away pretty quickly.
Get in a good first morning nap - Some of your holiday activities may mean missed or shortened naps, and that’s okay and expected. But, it would be best for you to try as you might to at least get a good first nap of the day, assuming your twins are taking more than one. Starting the day off right will generally help you stray too far from your schedule, especially if you have some late bedtimes (see #1). If you have a late bedtime and a short morning nap, you might be making a recipe for a disaster at an even faster rate!
Tandem schedules may not work – Temporarily, you may want to forego the super-strict tandem twin schedule you’ve grown accustomed to using. If one of your twins is struggling with all of the stimulation and getting off track, you may want to put him or her down for a nap or bedtime a bit earlier than the other to keep over-tiredness at bay. This doesn’t mean you won’t get them back on the same schedule once the holidays are over, but it could make things a bit more pleasurable during holiday activities if you don’t have one miserable baby.
Know when to push and when to pull back - If both of your twins adapt well to change, then you can likely party to your heart’s content and not worry too much if bedtime and naps are a little “off” for a week or two. However, if your twins respond well to change, it may be in your best interest to stick to the usual schedule as much as possible, and choose your “schedule-busting” activities carefully. If you have one of each - that is, if one twin is adaptable and one isn’t - then it’s usually best to plan around the less-adaptable twin. Keep in mind it’s okay to start to pull back when you see the schedule changes are wearing on your twins. Going with the flow may be your saving grace.
Get back on track ASAP - After a few weeks of rich food, busy activities, late nights, and out-of-the-ordinary schedules, everyone needs a few days to get back to normal. This is especially important if your twins have gotten out-of-sync with their sleep schedules. Plan for a few at-home days during which you can get your twins back into their typical eating and sleeping routines by putting them down for naps and bedtime about 15-20 minutes earlier than usual until you can ease them into their normal schedule. These days will no doubt feel “off” as you get back to normal, but spending this kind of concentrated time will help sleep get back on track quickly and (relatively!) painlessly.
Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems – he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched literature and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs, and more. She overcame her son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style, and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents “find their child’s sleep”. If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at The Baby Sleep Site® can help!