This is a special guest post by Alanna McGinn
“I don’t know how you do it!” was the usual response I would get when people would find out my youngest was twins. I would chuckle to myself and think, the twins are easy – it’s the 3 year old that’s a handful! My daughter was 3.5 years old when the twins were born and I have to say she adapted pretty easily and accepted her new brother and sister very well. It was her dad and I that had to do the big adjusting. Going from 1 to 3 kids was like going from none to 1. Suddenly your world is thrown upside down with these two small blessings, and even a sleep consultant wonders if I will ever sleep again.
My eldest was a solid sleeper and this definitely made it easier to hold onto some kind of routine when at times it seemed impossible. But once the babies were old enough to start a more consistent sleep routine I struggled with how I was going to work in my toddlers routine into the their sleep routine. This was an issue I never considered until we were knee deep in it. I think most parents of multiple children, whether you are dealing with twins or not, struggle with this dilemma. How do parents tackle different sleep routines and bedtimes with all their kids? Never mind how do you do, it but how do you do it successfully?
Have a Plan
Often when I’m working with families of multiple children bedtime is the biggest headache, largely due to who’s running the show. Spoiler – it’s not mom and dad. Parents need to sit down and form a plan that is realistic for their family, that includes age appropriate bedtimes, and who’s putting whom to bed. Take back control at bedtime and stop flying by the seat of your pants. Whether the plan is discussed or written down, having one will encourage both parents to remain consistent.
Ask for Help
Depending on how many kids you have and whether or not both parents are home at bedtime you may need to ask for help, and that’s okay. I did! At times my husband had to work at night and getting all three to bed on my own was difficult in the beginning. I recruited grandparents and a local sitter to help me out when I needed it and was a lifesaver. Listen, I understand that sometimes it’s tough to ask for help but check your pride at the door and do it. People around you want to help so let them.
Twin tip! While it’s important to keep twins on the same sleep and feeding schedule a 15-30 minute difference is okay. Mom, if you are on your own you can only do what you can do. If that means you can only feed and put down one twin at a time then that’s okay. I always say having twins is no different than having a singleton – everything just takes longer.
Teach Healthy Sleep Habits
Bedtime get’s easier once your child becomes an independent sleeper and I encourage you to start teaching healthy sleep habits once your children become old enough. Choose a sleep training program that works best for your family and once everyone is sleeping soundly you can successfully stagger age appropriate bedtimes and use these times to connect and bond with each child.
Bedtime Tip: Join our movement to #BringBackBedtime for the entire family and incorporate some of these bedtime tips to help all family members have a good night’s sleep.
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.