Good Sleeper / Bad Sleeper: How to Handle Sleeping Twins

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - July 28, 2023

I’ve heard from several parents that struggle with a twin that sleeps well and one that does not. If that sounds like you, let’s discuss how to get both twins down to sleep and how to keep them asleep during the night.

Sleeping Twins

Handling Bedtime Struggles with One Twin

Sometimes one of your twins loves bed time and is great about going to bed while the other is a night owl and puts up a fight at bedtime. This can lead to a struggle at bedtime to get the more defiant twin to bed and to sleep without disrupting or setting off the other twin’s sleep and routine.

One option would be to stagger bedtimes. Put your good sleeper down first and let them fall asleep. Then work on the routine with the more defiant twin. You may also experiment with which twin goes to bed first.

We had a period of time where we had trouble with our girls keeping each other awake at night. So we put them down to sleep in separate rooms.

One girl went to bed in her crib and the other went to bed in our master bedroom. Then once both were asleep, we’d move the sleeping twin from our bedroom to her crib.

If getting both twins down to sleep at the same time is a challenge, divide and conquer with your partner so you don’t have to wrestle both twins simultaneously. If that isn’t an option, try the schedule and sleeping arrangements mentioned above.

(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)

Will a restless twin wake up her sister if they are in the same room?

What if one of your twins is restless and noisy during the night? Will that disturb the other twin?

Our girls seemed to sleep fine through the cries of each other. If the sleeping child is the “good sleeper,” the chances are she will remain asleep regardless of the noise her sister makes. Granted, if the restless twin starts making lots of sharp, harsh noises (i.e., is having a fit), this will probably wake up the other. Remove her as a courtesy to the household sleepers and calm her down in the opposite end of the house. However, don’t feel like you have to immediately remove the restless baby at the first sound she makes.

If the restless twin is such because she doesn’t want you to leave the room, try a gradual approach.

One thing that has worked for us in the past is staying in the room after we put a baby in the crib. Your presence will comfort the child and you can then slowly work your way out of the room.

This may take several nights of you putting the baby down and then standing or sitting progressively farther away from the crib. This sleep training worked great for our babies.

Perhaps if your baby isn’t accustomed to the crib, you could put the crib in your room and once she is used to sleeping in there you can move the crib to her room.

(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)

A general rule of thumb is to start as you mean to go on. The earlier you can get your twins in the sleeping arrangement you want (in their cribs in their room), the better life will be for all. The longer you go on with bandaid solutions, the harder the habit and routine will be to break.

A book I highly recommend is The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. It served us well in getting our kids into a good sleep routine.

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Picture by Nayelli Rodriguez

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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