Two Naps to One

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Categories Behavior, Different Gender, Fraternal, Frustration, Multiple Types, Napping, Overnight, Parenting, Perspective, Sleep, Toddlers

A week and a half of summer break under my belt, and I’m ready for a vacation from my vacation.

I’ve known for a while that the twins’ naps weren’t working, but I hoped that I had more time to enjoy the status quo before upending it all for the dreaded transition. However, it became glaringly obvious that they were NOT going to take their 9am naps anymore, no matter how hard I tried to tire them out. Thing is, I’ve been looking forward to taking them to the Mommy-n-Me class that Big Sis and I attended almost two years ago, which is at 11am. But with my teaching schedule getting out the door by 6:45am, all the kids are used to waking up super early. That means, if they take no morning nap, they will almost definitely be sleeping through that class.

I can’t remember when Big Sis transitioned to one nap, but I am the one who did it, because my mom tells me that after some sort of break from school (winter/spring/summer), I brought her back already switched over to her new nap schedule. I do not remember it because it must have been a pretty natural and easy process. We settled on 11am-1pm for over a year. It wasn’t until her siblings landed on a 12:30-2:30 afternoon nap that I changed her nap to synchronize with theirs. But that wasn’t traumatic either, because she was ready to be awake longer in the mornings and have a later bedtime. There were a couple days of brief crankiness around her prior naptime, but I distracted her with something and she transitioned just fine.

No such luck with these two. There’s been lots of whining and general crankiness, even some food throwing and all-out meltdowns. Part of the difficulty has to result from the fact that there are two of them whose sleep/wake times need to be synchronized, but I think it’s mostly because they’re just not as agreeable as their sister. They’re much more active, and will fight to stay awake. Plus, as they share a bedroom and have their cribs next to each other, they will sometimes keep each other awake or wake each other up.

I’ve been writing down their naptimes for this last 1.5 weeks, and it looks like we’re starting to stabilize. And I’ve kept them more or less on the same schedule:

M 12:30-2 (garbage truck woke them)

Tu 12:45-2:45 (woke naturally)

W 11:30-1 (Big Sis woke them)

Th  9:30-9:45 (in car); 1-3:30 (woke naturally)

F  9:45-10:05 (in car); 1:30-4 (I woke them)

What I’ve learned this past week is that they haven’t been getting enough sleep. They’ve been fussy and unhappy, particularly in the late mornings.  Their nighttime sleep hasn’t been impacted too much by all of this (thank goodness!), other than falling asleep slightly earlier on the one-nap days. On Friday it felt like they were trying to catch up on sleep after being deprived for almost a week. Also the little catnaps in the car indicate they are indeed really tired.

I’ve been trying to force them to nap after lunch (more convenient time for me), but 6am to noon is proving to be too long a span for wakefulness, and too abrupt a change to make. They still need about 2-3 hours of naps during the day, but spaced right in between when they wake and their bedtime, so probably 10:30-1:30, keeping a wake time of 6am and bedtime of 6pm, which is what I hoped for on Saturday. Their actual naptime turned out to be 10:30-12:45. Close enough.

They woke up earlier the last couple of days though. We’re not even getting a full two hours in that nap anymore. And bedtime crept up to 6ish. Not the ideal I had in mind, but there’s also been less crying and screaming, so I guess we are making progress?

Sadly, I had to sacrifice Big Sis’s nap in this transition too. She was sleeping 1-2:30, but with her siblings unable to make it to nap at that time with her, I decided it was time for her to drop her nap entirely and move back her bedtime by 1.5 hrs. Other than her taking little catnaps in the car if I happen to drive over 15 mins in the afternoons, she’s taken to this just fine. And it’s kind of nice they’re all going down earlier for the night.

lunchldyd‘s b/g twins are 18mo, and their big sis just turned 4yo. She is welcoming any good suggestions for making this transition easier.

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lunchldyd

lunchldyd is mom to 3 year old boy/girl twins and their 5.5 year old sister. She is now teaches part-time to juggle the needs of her young children. When not at work and the kids are asleep, she is addicted to watching TV and sometimes sacrifices sleep to read in bed. She lives in the Los Angeles suburbs with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.

4 thoughts on “Two Naps to One”

  1. Although it’s been a few years, what I remember doing was moving the morning and afternoon back until the morning nap was so late that it was easier to just get rid of the afternoon nap. For instance, my kids used to nap in the morning at 10 and then again at 2. I began moving that morning nap to 10:30 then 11 then 11:30 while moving the afternoon nap to 2:30 then 3 and so forth. The problem is you have to wake them up from that afternoon nap because if they sleep a long time late in the afternoon, they’ll never go to bed at night! So I would never let my kids sleep past 4. By the time the “morning nap” got to noon, I just gave up that afternoon nap.

  2. About 2 months ago we transitioned our boys to just 1 nap (at 17 months old). It was hell! HELL!!!!! They were dropping the afternoon nap, so we first tried to go cold turkey and put them down between 11-12. They were SO CRANKY. We realized this wasn’t working. For Plan B we just started pushing back their morning nap by 15 minutes every week, starting at 10 am. It took like 5 weeks or so and now they are able to stay up for a 11:30 lunch and they go down around noon for 2-3 hours. It’s amazing!!! But yeah, it was really rough during the transition.

  3. Oh wow. Memories.

    I’m torn between wanting to give words of comfort and wanting to snub you because your kids sleep for more than a cumulative total of twenty to forty minutes during daylight hours. But you have three, including twins, so I’ll go with comfort :) .

    Hopefully they hit their strides soon.

  4. My problem now seems that some days they still want their two naps. Strange, when I wanted them to take two naps, they would boycott one or the other. Now that I want to give them one nap, they wake up after an hour! Help?

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