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Siblings and Sleep

Whether you have twins or young siblings, it can be a challenge to teach one how to sleep if the other needs your attention or if one disturbs the other.

This can be particularly challenging if you are sleep training one, let alone two children at the same time! It can be made a lot easier with a two parents to two children ratio but that is not always possible, so what can you do?

Here are some tips to handling siblings and sleep with one pair of hands…

  • Do the bedtime routine at the same time (if their ages are appropriate).
  • Give a pre-school age or older child a book or a jigsaw to do quietly in his room while you put the younger one to bed.
  • Read a bedtime story to the children together in one of their rooms, then take the youngest to bed and tell the older that you will be in to tuck them in shortly.
  • Going to start sleep training? If you are on your own at sleep times, you will need a sleep training plan that is achievable and enables you to tend to the siblings as well as the child you are sleep training.
  • If one child is more of a battle to settle at bedtime, settle the easier child first and praise his good behaviour. Then take your time with the more challenging child.
  • Try not to bow down to the every whim of a stalling toddler just because you fear she will disturb her sibling. It is amazing what they can sleep through. If old enough, you can always promise the sibling an extra goodnight kiss if they stay quietly in bed until the challenging child has settled.
  • If you have twins or singletons sharing a room and one just disturbs the other every time they try to settle, consider separating them temporarily (this may mean one in your room) until they are more skilled at settling to sleep.
  • Don’t feel you have to rush in to ‘rescue’ your baby at the slightest sound she makes. She may well fall back to sleep by herself and it is unlikely she will wake a sibling in deep sleep anyway.
  • If one child naps but another doesn’t, occupy the older child while you settle the younger napper and then reward the older child with some one-to-one attention while the little one naps.

My own children are pretty close in age and in rooms right next to each other. If daddy is working late, I often do bedtime by myself and you will find you just get into a natural groove or flow that works for your family.

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