One twin napping and one ready to stay awake? How to cope, from an experienced mother.

When One Twin Doesn’t Want to Nap

Posted on
Categories Difference, Discipline, Napping, Preschoolers, Routines, SleepTags , , , ,

Since my twin daughters’ birth, one has been a better sleeper than the other, even though they were put on the same schedule from the beginning.  While they were both good to me at a young age and slept through the night, if someone were to get up at night, it was Lisa, and still is Lisa.  If someone were to take a long time to fall asleep, it was her as well.  But, my other daughter, Alison, almost never gets up at night.  Alison can sleep through her sister’s night wakings and subsequent crying and bedroom door opening and closings.  She really only gets up if she is sick or something.  It is wonderful.

At nap time, Alison is generally much quicker to fall asleep.  She just needs her special blanket.  And she can then sleep for at least two hours but has been known to sleep for up to three, or, on a rare day, even longer.  Her sister Lisa on the other hand, fights taking a nap with tears, requests for books, drinks of water, and protest of, “I don’t want to take a nap!”

So, my husband and I have tried numerous thing to coax Lisa to nap every day – rewards for taking a nap; punishments for not taking a nap; loving words; threats; sitting in the room until she falls asleep; ignoring her; giving her books or a toy; moving nap time back; and so on.  But, that girl can happily roll around her bed for an hour, and still not fall asleep, frustrating her parents to no end at the same time.

Lately, Lisa is hit or miss with napping.  It seems more often than not, she does not take a nap.

So, my question is, to all the seasoned MOMs out there – what do you do when one of your twins seems to be done with naps?  I am stubborn and still try putting her down for a nap every single day, at the same time that her sister Alison goes down.  I know my girls are now three, and that maybe I should just be grateful that they’ve napped as long as they have, but naps are precious to me, especially as I have a newborn and desperately want to take a nap each day too!  Plus, she gets destructive and defiant when she doesn’t nap, and is then ready for bed much earlier at night than her sister.  I really don’t like them on different schedules.

So, when did your twins stop napping?  How did you encourage a stubborn napper to sleep? Or what did you do with them once they stopped napping?  Quiet time?  And what did that quiet time look like?


ldskatelyn is a wife and mother of three kids, including a set of three year old fraternal twin daughters and brand new newborn son.  She works hard to mantain balance in all things as she stays at home with her kids and runs the household, supporting her grad student husband.  She blogs about her life and other things over at

Share this...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Tumblr0Share on Reddit0Digg thisShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

Published by


Katelyn is a stay-at-home mom to three year old fraternal twin girls, Lisa and Alison, and a brand new baby boy, named Michael. She is enjoying having a newborn again and also loving the dynamics (so far) of having kids of different ages. When Katelyn isn’t playing or taking care of her kids, she’s often reading a book, blogging, watching a movie, or taking care of business. She’s also a talented artist, a Sunday School teacher to a group of 6-year old kids, a supportive spouse to her graduate student/math teacher husband, and a musician. She works hard to have a clean house, great preschoolers, and a happy home. She shares bits of advice and much of her life over at her personal blog What’s up Fagan’s?

10 thoughts on “When One Twin Doesn’t Want to Nap”

  1. My boys are almost 6 and still lay down for rest time. I homeschool, and my younger 2 still nap (most of the time), so that hour or two of quiet is much needed. Some days are not as quiet during rest time and I have to go in to remind them to rest. Because we’ve kept it going, they are usually quiet for the first hour, then, if they are not napping (usually end up falling asleep once or twice a week) and starting to get loud, I go in and have them read quietly for a half hour or so. I’m all for keeping a rest time. They need the down time and so does mom.

  2. My boys turned 3 in February- and they/we gave up naps about 1 month ago. It just seemed ridiculous to me that I would spend 40-50 minutes trying to get them to sleep, and then they only slept for ~1 hour. Currently, they go to bed at 7:00 pm and wake up somewhere between 6-7:30 (and we have had no middle of the night wakeups since cutting the nap out). I find that the days I have forced naps on them (generally for my own sanity), they don’t fall asleep well at night, they are more likely to get up in the middle of the night, and they wake up much earlier. I do make them have “quiet time” for about an hour after lunch- which usually involves puzzles, reading, songs, drawing, etc. FYI- the first week after we stopped napping, there was some late afternoon/early evening crankiness- but they learned to adjust pretty quickly and overcame that. Good luck!!

  3. My twins are 5 now, but ever since they were about 3 they have ‘quiet time’ every day for about two hours. It’s rarely actually quiet we came to the agreement that they do what they want so long as they stay in the room (only exception is potty breaks) and nothing gets broken. It leads to some epic messes but beyond that it’s pretty good for everyone involved I think. Parents get their quiet and the kids get to feel a little independent.

    That arrangement got a lot easier once they started sharing a room because they keep each other entertained. It might be tougher for you since one still wants to sleep.

  4. My girls gave up naps nearly simultaneously and waaaaay too young. Their teachers were glad that they were reading at age 3, if only because it encouraged them to be quiet while the rest of the kids in their daycare class napped. I begged the daycare teachers for suggestions to help the girls get a nap in on the weekend, and they just told me that it was clear that the girls’ bodies were just ready to quite napping at age 3. I continued to insist on quiet time in the early afternoon until my girls started kindergarten. That quiet time has now moved to weekday evenings, and we cherish our time snuggling and reading side by side, although too often I have to cut it short to get to housework or to scurry the girls into getting ready for bedtime.

    Having one sleeper and one non-sleeper can be rough, but some kids (like some adults) simply need more sleep than others. Do your girls share a room? Any way Alison can get naptime and Lisa quiet time in a different space?

  5. Glad to hear I’m not the only one with this challenge. The quiet time is a great idea. I really need the break too. Keeping twins on the same schedule is always tricky when making transitions.

  6. My parents always had the quiet time rule until we were in grade 1. We had to stay in our room, preferrably on our bed and could bring books or quiet toys with us. When we were older and had trouble sleeping at night we were allowed to stay in bed and read for as long as we wanted. It gave everyone a much needed break and kept things on a low decibel level.

  7. I had one sleeper and one early nap-dropper. The nap dropper happened to have a feisty personality. : ) In a 2-bedroom house, I didn’t have many options for separating them at naptime — at least no way for one to be quiet enough to not disturb the others. After a few months, I simply gave up. It wasn’t worth the battles, frustration, and hair pulling (girls attacking each other at naptime because one wanted to sleep and the other wanted to play). I was also quite tired of the condescension from parents of good nappers! By the time they were 3, they were no longer napping regularly, and to be honest, I was more than fine with this. It made for early bedtimes! : )

  8. Katelyn, I was just writing a post about sleeping arrangements! We’re having trouble with our twins too… except they’re only 4 months old =(

  9. Oh I can see this coming down my road…my guys are 6 months, but one has always needed more sleep than the other. It sounds like instituting quiet time is a good solution.

    Meanwhile, my husband and I are making grand plans to storm into the boys’ room at all hours of the night, wake them early on weekends, and disturb as many afternoon naps as possible…once they’re teenagers :o)

  10. My boys are 3.5 and one is a napper, the other is not. We separated their rooms when they turned three, which helped a little, but eventually, my non-napper (and coincidentally, the one who needs a nap the most!) realized that he didn’t want to sleep. He now knows that he must have “quiet time” during the day – door closed, stay on the bed, no noisy toys, books only. Sometimes, he’ll nap, but most days, he’d rather not. I’ve noticed that if I lay down with him and tell him we’re having a contest to see who can fall asleep the fastest, he will fall asleep within 15 minutes or so (and I will too!) That might be your best chance at squeezing a nap in – if you lay down. If he’s fidgeting, I simply say, “I bet I’m going to win the sleeping contest. You’ll have to lay real still with your eyes closed if you’re going to fall asleep before me.” Usually works like a charm!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge