Q&A: My twin 2-year-olds won't nap. What can I do?
I have 2-year-old twin daughters who share a bedroom. I cannot seem to get them to take a nap. All they do is play and throw things out of their dressers. How can I get them to nap? Please help!
The two questions your question bring to mind are:
1. Is there too much stimulation around for them to sleep?
2. Are they really tired and in need of a nap?
If put in a room with many fun things to do and each other’s company, your twins might not be getting the quiet transition time that lets them get from sleepy to asleep. A quiet, toy-free space in a darkened room is better than a highly stimulating space. If one of the twins is more ready to sleep than the other, you might need to find separate sleeping areas for them as well.
The other issue is whether they truly need the sleep at the time you expect. Sleep needs are variable. Some children are still napping at the age of five, while others drop the day sleep period between two and three years. If they are tired, most children act it by being cranky, unfocused, frustratable, and inactive.
Another thing to consider is the sleep cycle: are the children getting up late and staying up later at night? If so, they may not show fatigue until late in the afternoon and may not need the earlier nap that other toddlers do. If they are up early (6AM to 7AM), then a late morning to early afternoon nap is usual, but again, this is variable.
To sort out their sleep needs from habit or overstimulation, you may want to set aside an hour of ‘down time’ for them, in a quiet space at a time of day when they most seem to need it. If one or both sleeps, fine. If they simply spend the time occupying themselves, perhaps listening to soft music, then a nap may not be essential, and the time can instead become a short break from the day for you and them.