2 year old sleep regression with twins.
Alright, twin parents. You made it past that first year with twins.
The constant feedings, the wake-ups, the exhaustion. You did it. You handled baby sleep.
It should be smooth sailing from here on out, right? I wish I could say it was. But just as you think you have got this twin thing down, at least the sleep part, regressions pop up.
A particularly tough regression can happen when your twins are two years old, making toddler sleep a challenge. Don’t worry, your two year olds will get through this and be sleeping again.
Here is how to survive the 2 year old sleep regression with twins.
2 Year Old Sleep Regression with Twins
Child sleep can always have hard times. It doesn’t matter if you have twins or a singleton, sleep regressions will happen. But before you call in the sleep consultant you can try a few things on your own.
What is a Sleep Regression?
What do I mean by a sleep regression? By definition, a regression is a return to a former or less developed state.
In terms of sleep this means instead of being able to sleep through the night without issue as we would expect from a toddler, they are waking up a lot. Regressions aren’t limited to 2 year olds, they happen throughout early childhood.
One big regression you might have already had to handle is the 4 month sleep regression. They can happen to a 6 month old, a 1 year old, really an age.
I tell you this not to freak you out, but to let you know that this is normal. The two year sleep regression is normal. You haven’t done anything wrong, and your twins will sleep again.
Reasons for a 2 Year Sleep Regression
I always like to know why things happen, and there are a few big reasons that two year olds in particular hit this period of wakefulness. These reasons apply to all toddlers, not just twins. But the twin factor shouldn’t be ignored.
At two most kids are past the big separation anxiety phase that happens at 18 months. But that doesn’t mean kids are over it forever. Your child could actually be nervous about being alone or could worry they are missing out on the fun.
The Twin Factor
If your twins are in their own room they could be having anxiety about being separated from their twin. If you have space you could try having your twins sleep in the same room again. They can find comfort in knowing their twin is nearby and get back to regular sleeping.
It is possible for one twin to have stronger separation anxiety than the other. And your twins might not experience this at all, especially if they already share a room.
How To Help
The best way to help here is to reassure your twins that you are there if they need you and that the fun will wait until tomorrow.
To do this I go to my twins when they call out, every time. They need to know a parent will come to them if needed, and this helps them get back to sleep.
If I think my twins just don’t want to stop the fun, I make a big deal of winding down for the night. We tell the toys and books that we had fun and that they need to wait until tomorrow so we can play again. (Note: This works well for any time your kids don’t want to stop playing.)
By recognizing that they were having fun and that they can have fun again tomorrow your twins can sleep better.
Your little ones could have developed actual nighttime fears. I think these are valid and need to be addressed. It’s also a good idea to suss out if it is indeed a real fear or a fake one. (Learn to tell the difference: Real vs Fake Fears: How To Tell the Difference)
A big real fear is the fear of the dark. There is a really great post for handling that, so if you think this particular fear is an issue check this out: What to do when your child is scared of the dark.
The Twin Factor
This is another case where having twins (if they share a room) could be helpful. It’s harder to get scared if someone else is in the room with you. So, fortunately, this one could be less of a problem.
I would be sure to be careful of twin escalation though. One gets an idea and the other builds on it and suddenly you have two very worked up little ones. So take these fears seriously and do your best to handle them as they pop up.
How To Help
There are some simple ways to help with fears at this young age. Night lights can be very effective with getting rid of the fear of the dark because the room isn’t as dark!
‘Monster sprays’ or ‘bravery sprays’ can work wonders too. Take a small squirt bottle, fill it with water and something that smells nice and call it whatever you want. Spray it around the room to get rid of the monsters or use it to make your twins brave.
Go to your twins when they call out at night. I know, the goal is to not be getting up so much! But if they are genuinely afraid the reassurance that mommy and daddy are nearby can be the best cure.
Have you had any major life changes lately? Big life changes can make falling asleep tough.
Little things can make a difference too.
Your twins could be teething. Those molars hurt when they come in! Potty training can make it hard to sleep. Really any changes to your normal routine can cause problems.
The Twin Factor
Again, being a twin doesn’t change the fact that a disruptive week can mess with sleep or that potty training can be a challenge. But what can be confusing is if one twin has a big regression and the other doesn’t.
I know every twin parent knows it, but remember that your twins are individuals. It is entirely possible that one will be unable to sleep while teething and the other will have no issues.
So don’t rule out a disruption based on a change just because one twin is regressing but not the other.
How To Help
Do your best to get to the root cause. For life changes with this time is the best healer, but maintaining a consistent bedtime routine will really help get back to sleeping all night.
Tips for Handling Sleep Regressions
Regardless of the reason for the regression, there are some general tips to follow to get sleep back on track for your twins.
Don’t Drop The Nap
I know it is tempting to get rid of nap time in order to have your twins be more tired at night, or if they just aren’t napping at all. But don’t do it.
2 year olds still need that valuable sleep during the day, and I think parents need that valuable break too. So it is okay if your twins don’t sleep for a couple of naps. They will nap again.
I like to give my toddlers a simple toy or board book so they are at least resting their bodies a bit even if they aren’t sleeping.
Keep the Crib
Sleep regressions can cause little ones to turn into escape artists. They are away and bored, they find a way out of their crib. This can make parents think that they should transition to toddler beds.
My opinion? Don’t do it! Why would switching to an easier to get out of big kid bed make your toddlers more likely to stay put, especially with their twin in the room? It makes it too easy to get up and play.
Regressions end, but it is really hard to go back to a crib. This post can help you with escape options: How To Handle Your Twins Climbing Out of Their Cribs
Keep a Consistent, and Early, Bedtime
Keep that bedtime routine solid. A good routine doesn’t have to take long or be super involved. I think there are 4 core parts to it. (Learn more: The 4 Core Parts Every Bedtime Routine Needs.) A consistent bedtime routine will remind your twins that it is still time to sleep, even if they want to play.
Twins who share a room are going to spend a little time talking to each other before falling asleep. How could they not? As such, keep that bedtime early. This way they have time to get all the silliness out of their system and still get to sleep on time.
Your Twins Will Sleep Again
I know it might not seem like it, but your twins will sleep again. Even busy toddler multiples need rest eventually. Regressions are normal and you will get back to sleep yourself too.
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