In the 23rd episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast, I answer several listener questions about caring for twins.
Listen to the podcast as I discuss answers to these questions (click links for transcript)
- How do you get to the store with twins and two other kids by yourself?
- Can twins share a stroller?
- Challenges moving twins to beds (see below)
How do you transition twins from cribs to big beds successfully?
This question comes to us from Patricia. She says she’s got two girls that are 2 and they already have a baby who has turned 1. They recently transitioned to twin-sized beds for the twins after the girls started climbing out of their cribs.
Unfortunately, the transition has been a nightmare, and without a doubt it’s been the hardest part of twins yet.
They don’t stay in their beds. They’re standing on the headboards, banging on the windows, playing in the closet. All very dangerous things.
In the beginning, she says, they required very little intervention but this has begun to devolve, and now they’re finding they must sit between them. Night times which began fairly peacefully are now getting worse. They tried separating them, but maybe it’s too late. And she asks for any ideas.
Switching to New Twin Beds is Difficult
Patricia, this is definitely a challenging situation. Whenever you transition from cribs to big girl beds, it’s going to be a bit of a struggle. We had lots of challenges and struggles getting our girls to settle down when they transitioned to big beds.
It was a surprise to us that it was such a challenge, because their older brothers had each in turn done very well with the transition away from crib to bed. In fact, our older boys would just stay in their bed, because they still viewed it as a crib. They didn’t even think they could get out of it by themselves.
However, I guess that, with twins, this newfound freedom is just too much not to enjoy, especially when you have a ready friend and playmate that you can cause mischief with in your bedroom. So, the transition to big girl beds was a big challenge for us, as well.
(RELATED: Your twins will need a lot of gear. Here's the complete twins baby registry checklist to get ready for your twins' arrival.
Be Patient and Disciplined
We found some advice in the book, The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. The book was very helpful in forming good sleep habits with our kids. We use this advice in this book with both our singleton boys as well as our twin girls. So, I recommend you take a look at that book.
The thing I would advise is that you be consistent with your twins. You have to stick to the routine and stick to disciplining them at night, despite their cries and complaints. Now, the transition to a smooth bedtime will not happen overnight. It will take some time and some practice and some training.
Remember to praise the good behavior that you want even if it is minor. Like, for example, if your twins stay on their bed or if they keep their heads on their pillows. Or even if they just close their eyes, reinforce the good and they will yearn for that approval.
We had a period where my wife and I would sit in the dark in the bedroom with our girls. This helped them stay in their beds, stay peaceful. So, each night we would stay with the girls and help them fall asleep. As the nights progressed, we would sit closer and closer to the door, away from the girls’ beds and closer to the exit. Eventually, they got used to this pattern, and eventually, they didn’t miss us when we started doing it. You may want to try something similar with your girls.
Give the Twins Their Own Bedtime
Since you’ve got a younger girl you might want to consider getting her down to bed first so that you can free up your time and your attention to be able to deal with your twins. This is something that we do with our kids.
Especially if one of us is home alone with the kids, we’ll start with the girls, put them down to sleep and then help the boys, or vice versa. When we were transitioning our girls to big girl beds, we put our older boys to bed first and then went to help our twins, since they needed more attention.
Getting your girls into a good sleep routine in big girl beds will take some patience and perseverance and it won’t be easy. Even so, you can do it. You can help your twins form better sleep habits. It’s going to take some practice, some repetition, and some oversight by you for a little while. But ultimately, they’ll settle down into a pattern that will be good for them and for you.
Mentioned in this Podcast:
Double Snap n Go Inline Stroller – easy to navigate through crowds and stores.
(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)
Baby Bjorn – infant carrier helped us get out with twins.
The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy – this book helped us establish great sleep routines with our kids.
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(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)