The holidays are fast approaching! But while the holiday season spells delicious food, family celebrations, and special gifts for many, for those of you with multiples, all that celebrating can also mean missed or shortened naps and crazy night waking for your little ones.
So how can you celebrate and enjoy the holiday season while also safeguarding your twins’ usual sleep schedule and routines? Simple: use the 5 strategies below!
Allow your twins’ personalities and dispositions to guide you.
If your twins adapt well to change, then you can likely party to your heart’s content and not worry much if bedtime and naps are out of whack for a week or two. However, if your twins don’t 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.
If you value your tandem schedules, prioritize them.
If you have your twins on the same schedule – and if you value those mirror schedules – then prioritize them as much as you can over the holidays. That may mean you can’t let Aunt Carol rock one twin to sleep if it’s not nap time yet, and it might mean you have to leave a party early to preserve bedtime, even if one twin is still rarin’ to go.
Minimize those late bedtimes.
A few late nights (ideally not consecutive) are fine for most children but avoid too many. Late bedtimes tend to result in overtiredness, which in turn means early-waking and nap issues for most babies and toddlers. And if your twins share a room, a too-short nap or middle-of-the-night crying from one twin will likely disturb the other – something no parent wants to deal with!
Prioritize the first morning nap.
Some of your holiday activities may mean missed or shortened naps, and that’s okay, as long as you plan well. If your twins are still taking two naps and you know your twins will have to skip their afternoon naps, be sure to prioritize the morning nap, as that nap is usually the most restorative of the day. And in general, avoid activities that will force your twins to miss the morning nap; it’s better to schedule those activities in the afternoon.
Give your twins plenty of time to adjust once the holidays are over.
Actually, you may need this adjustment period just as much as your twins! 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. If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at The Baby Sleep Site® can help!