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My 2.5 Year Old Twins Won't Nap

We count our blessings that we have made it this far with out any major sleep regressions with our twins. We somehow managed to miss the 4-month, 6-month, and 18-month sleep regressions...until now. But Jayna and Kinsley will not nap. Despite them going down at the same time every day (with a plenty long wake window), they cannot seem to settle down and go to sleep....when/if they do sleep, they are out cold until we wake them close to 4:30pm, to avoid troubles at bedtime.


Removing the pacifiers did not help - but I have to think that this was something that was going to happen either way.


Like many toddlers at this age - my girls can be stubborn and I have yet to be able to figure out how to rein them in. This proves to be even more challenging at nap time. They don't want to stop the fun and giggles when it is time to go to sleep.


I read an article from a fellow twin mom who experienced a similar issue when her girls were this age and her analogy made perfect sense: Remember when you were a little girl and went for a sleepover at your BFF's house....and you stayed up all night chit-chatting? That's exactly what the girls are doing. They've been having so much fun going through their day and it is the first time they are actually alone to gossip and play and do girl things. The problem - every adult in the house needs them to sleep.


We have been going on a three-week nap strike, that started the day the calendar struck 30 months (I swear!). They go up for nap and do anything but sleep.


Picture of me agonizing over the monitor in the hallway:


Below are all the steps I tried to get them to sleep and how things actually ended up.


Wear them out! I feel like this goes without saying, but get those kids tired. Trips to the park, obstacle courses, ring-around-the-rosie, whatever you need to do to get them tired. And yes, I tried this relentlessly and it still didn't work.


Stick to your schedule! You know twin moms live and die by the schedule and the same goes here. Was there a shift to your behaviors that is causing them to not want to sleep? Did they wake up earlier or later? Also for me, this did not work as there had not been any change.


Play with the sleep environment! We took three approaches here (1) As we were entering the summer months, I realized their room was a bit warmer than normal...so we bumped the air to cool before it was nap time and kept blinds shut in the morning to avoid the sun beaming in (2) Alter your start time for nap. We had found that even when we were putting them down around 1pm (their normal time), if they were sleeping, it wasn't until closer to 3pm. Would we be more successful at 2pm? [We tried several times and the end result was it depends - sometimes later was a bit better - but not always] and (3) Noises - we have always used a white noise machine when the girls sleep, I tried using a musical tune instead and they liked it (this is now our go-to wind down song and it switches to white noise when they should be sleeping).


Rephrase from Sleep Time to Rest Time: One of the shifts I made was to reframe the idea of nap time. I didn't really care if they slept, but I needed them to stay in their cribs and rest. In addition to their lovies and blankets, I added a soft washable book and a baby doll for them to play with. Leading up to nap time and after I put them in their bed, I would say "you don't have to sleep, but you need to rest. You can read a book, play with your baby, or sing a song, but you need to stay in your crib." I knew I was onto something when Jayna repeated it back to me the entire way up the stairs.


Separate them: As a final straw, I separated them. It was a Saturday afternoon about 3-weeks into our nap strike. I knew they were exhausted, but they just could not settle down. They were climbing in and out of the cribs and I had tried all of the items above. I gave one warning that they would be separated and they continued climbing out....so I did it. I set up a pack 'n play in the room next door and put a monitor and white noise maker in there and removed the instigator from the environment. Let me tell you - she SCREAMED and yelled and jumped and even got herself out of the pack 'n play, but I continued to go back in and put her in the bed. This continued for 20 minutes, until she assured me she could be a big girl and sleep in her crib. I brought her back into her room, laid her down and she went right to sleep.....and the nap crisis ended.


FWIW, her sister, who remained in her room the entire time, was sobbing that her sister had been removed, and was very happy to see her return.


It was an emotionally draining struggle and it still isn't perfect, but it is exponentially better than it was.








1 Comment


I really like the fact that your twins are very close to one another and are the best of friends. I hope it continues as they get older. Wow you sure got a lot of patience in having to put the twins for a nap. And I also like how your flexible when it comes to naptime meaning how you don’t force them to sleep if they are not sleepy

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I'm Kristen, a first-time Mom of identical twin girls who are 3. I work full-time, teach group fitness classes, and am on the wild ride of motherhood.

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