Question of the Week: Naps


This week’s question at the Multiples and More blog is all about naps.

How do you encourage healthy sleep habits in your children?
  • When they were infants, how did you get your babies to sleep/nap at the same time?

When I was on bed rest before we had the boys, I read “Healthy Sleep, Happy Child” and LOVED it.  Butterfly was a POOR sleeper.  She was up all the time.  She could never go to sleep without being in my arms.  I vividly remember it taking over an hour to put her to bed, with me rocking, gently placing her in her crib, patting, soothing, and crawling out of the room praying I wouldn’t hit a squeaky board.  I was not about do that with the boys because it made me loose my sanity!  So I went looking for some inspiration and help.  After reading that book, I realized that Butterfly was a poor sleeper because she was over tired.  So I was determined to not let the boys get over tired.  Starting the day we got home from the hospital, they had a bed time and set nap times.  And I put them both down and the same time and got them up at the same time.  They were champion sleepers though so I’m not sure I had much to do with it.

  • If they wake up early from a nap, how did/do you handle that?

When they were babies, I honestly would let them play in their crib until they demanded to get out or drifted back to sleep.  We never rocked them to sleep or laid down with them.  I just put them in bed awake, gave hugs and kisses, and walked out.  Still do that.  Now, they pretty much wake each other up or I let one play until I hear them both.

  • Do you have a minimum amount of time that you want your babies to sleep, or at least rest in their cribs for?

Yes I do!  Of course I want them to be well rested and spending enough time resting is the key.  Right now they need to nap for AT LEAST 2 hours at a time.  They will go for 3 or 4 sometimes, depending on how active we are in the morning.  And no, I do not wake them up unless it’s 6pm and they’ve been sleeping for at least 2 hours.  I just let them go as long as they want.  (Except on Sundays when naps don’t start until 3 and I get them up at 6 and put them down at 8.)

  • Napping transitions (this is a big one!): How did/do you handle the situation of going from two naps to one, when one child is ready and the other(s) were not?

I sort of remember Pirate being ready for one nap and Professor not being ready.  Sadly, life as a twin, sometimes things are not always fair.  I forced Professor into taking one nap because Pirate was ready.  And I’m okay with that.  He eventually was okay with that too.  Besides, I do love having one nap a day to worry about.  It makes the mornings so much more fun!  I think I went cold turkey with them and that morning nap and moved their afternoon nap from about 2pm to 11pm.  Then I gradually pushed it back half an hour every other day until I hit 1pm.  That’s where I stopped.  They will nap from 1pm-4pm consistently.  Love it!

  • If you have older multiples- how did the transition to toddler beds affect their sleep patterns? When did naps *gasp* come to an end?
Butterfly (although not a multiple) transitioned into her big girl bed just fine.  She ended her naps around 4 and a half, when I realized that she won’t be napping at all day school the next year.  Plus, she really wasn’t sleeping during mandated quiet time.  And she really wasn’t being quiet either.  So I just stopped putting her in my room (all 3 kids sleep in the same room right now) and now she watches a movie while the boys nap.  I am not looking forward to moving my boys out of their cribs and I wish they could sleep in them until they are 5!
That wouldn’t be bad, right?  5 is a great age to move out of the crib!