For BTDT, toddler twin bedtime issues

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KittenChops's picture
Last seen: 4 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/18/08
Posts: 201
For BTDT, toddler twin bedtime issues

Hello all!! I don't get on here much these days as I'm super busy with my kiddos. But, we desperately need some help here.

The issue we are having is with our 2 1/2 y/o twins. Every night we go through the same horrible cycle: we get them up to bed, give kisses and hugs and then as soon as the lights are out and the door is shut, those two start going crazy in their room. Jumping on the bed, screaming, laughing, talking, pulling all the blankets and sheets off the bed, basically just going totally bonkers up there. So myself or Mike will walk up there, reprimand them, put the beds back together and tell them that its time for bed, etc and the process starts all over again. This will go on sometimes for two hours. I have a school aged daughter that needs her sleep, and we also have our second set of twins, the two baby girls in the bedroom next to them, and I'm afraid if they keep this habit up they will start waking the babies.....and that just isn't going to fly. We try our best to not spank, but sometimes that's the only way to get them to stop. We don't like doing it, but we also need them to listen for the sake of the other children and our sanity.

Do any of you have ideas on how we might deal with this in a better way? I shudder to think what its going to be like for us in another year or so when the girls are a little older and are influenced by the older ones. So I would really like to get this situation under control. TIA!

Last seen: 5 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 05/20/07
Posts: 45

We have been dealing w/ this for awhile too, but it has gotten a lot better in the past few weeks. Honestly, the best thing that helps us get them down is not giving them naps during the day. We got to the point where we either had a couple of hard hours before bed because they were so tired, or a couple of hard hours (hard for us cause we are so frusterated with them) after their bedtime which is OUR time! They may snooze in the car here or there, but they don't go down for acutal naps anymore during the day. They may still have quiet time, but that's it.

Another thing that we do sometimes when they are still up bouncing around is to take away their stuffed animals they have in bed. I have also turned off their nightlight and told them it must be too light if they are screwing around. They still have a ceiling projector so it's not pitch black, but they WANT the nightlight on so I use that for a barter tool. Stuffed animals too.

I think it took us a couple of months to really get throught the tough days of no naps. They started pschool this year too which seems to wear them out more than usual. That helps too! Good luck!

Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

Most people will probably not agree with me, but I think it might be best to ignore it. By going in and reprimanding them, etc., they are getting attention for their behavior. Mommy or daddy comes in and talks to them, engages with them, remakes the bed, etc. and that is kind of exciting. I really think that ignoring it will eventually help it to stop all together. After all, they are not getting any attention--except from each other---and when one of them falls asleep, it sure is not exciting to keep up the antics. Obviously, if they are doing something that is very dangerous, it would be wise to go in, but for anything else, wait it out. I don't consider ignoring a behavior as being passive or not providing discipline either. It is a way to extinguish the behavior. By not reinforcing it, it will eventually diminish. The thing about sleep is that you cannot control if/when they go to sleep. With twins, it is hard because they have a playmate with whom they can conspire to stay awake.

I will say that our girls do this sometimes. They are still in cribs, so they are not as destructive. However, we hear them screaming and laughing with each other, running back and forth in their cribs, etc. We really just ignore it. It doesn't happen very often and I think part of the reason is that we just don't attend to it. I cannot say what they will do once they are in toddler beds...and we have no plans to move them anytime soon if possible.

I would suggest something like a sticker chart, but I think they might be too young. Since you are focusing on bedtime behavior, you would have to reward them in the morning with a sticker. I think the delay between their bedtime behavior and a sticker in the morning is too long. However, it is an idea that you can try and see how it works out.

I do not suggest taking away naps. Being overtired means fighting sleep at night. Kids this age still need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day. Most will sleep 10-12 hours at night, and need the nap for the extra sleep their brain needs to focus, attend, and learn throughout the day.

Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 06/04/09
Posts: 46

I'd try a couple of things - first, ignoring it.

If after two weeks of ignoring it's still going on, I'd cut out the naps.

Many kids stop napping at about 2.5 (my oldest daughter did, much to my horror). Well, she would have kept napping but we had to cut it out to get her to bed before midnight.

Whatever you do, I would think you'd have to consistently stick with it for a long while before deciding it wasn't working.

At 2.5 yrs they may also be old enough to understand the threat of a consequence - i.e. fooling around at bedtime means they get split up at night. One of them may have to move into your bedroom on the floor for a while. That in itself might be enough of a deterrent.

My daughter loved sticker charts at 2.5 years (at least for a few days), so you could also try that.

Good luck! I am dreading taking my twins out of their cribs, and hope they remain in them for a good long time.

Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

I think it depends on where your level of tolerance lies. There's days that they love to challenge their bedtime and others where they listen wonderfully and actually go to bed. I absolutely would not agree with removing naps yet unless it's very apparent that they are ready. IME, those that aren't ready will definitely behave more defiantly than what is already happening.

We sometimes do what Mel suggests, but there's nights where they absolutely need to get to sleep timely to ensure a good day the following morning if they have to get up early. On those nights, we originally told them that if they stay in bed and don't talk, we'll keep the door open. Their sister, who's 12 mths older and rooms with them, actually stays in bed and listens. Them looking up to her and the door ajar alone usually works. Sometimes, they test it. On those days, we literally sit or stand right outside the door with the door ajar and listen. The moment they get up to play, I make my presence known, they rush to their beds and I shut the door. They don't have a night light in their room and no light comes through their curtains so it's very dark. They hate it. They cry. Two minutes later, I open the door and explain why it was shut. I warn them if it happens again, I will shut the door. Sometimes I need to do it again and for a longer duration, but most of the time, they get it the first time. We then close the door for the night when they all fall asleep.

It's definitely a phase. I hope you're able to resolve it before your younger twins pick up on it and join the fun. Good luck!

Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

I so feel your pain. I posted this video on facebook today of one of my twins and the aftermath of fighting sleep. lol

For a few weeks now they climb out of their crib and play every night at bedtime and naptime, and it is exhausting. I know they need sleep, and they are so grouchy throughout the day w/o sleep. They finally fall asleep and then Wyatt wakes up and turns on the light and wakes up Abram, then they exit their room wandering the house, waking up their older siblings, or dh and I. It was getting old, and becoming a safety concern (obviously wandering the house in the dark when every one is asleep is not good). So I got a child lock on the inside of their door knob. They are still goofing off and playing at sleeping time (nap and bedtime), but they can't leave, so they are quicker to go to sleep. But sometimes, when I go to bed hours later I see their light on, and quietly open the door to find Wy asleep in the thinking chair.

I agree with Mel and the others on ignoring it. I was getting so mad at naptime (I think they went to bed better at night time because dh is there), and kept putting them back in their bed, saying nothing, super nanny style. Wyatt would laugh every time, it was a game to him. I got all stern, possessed mommy voice, "get back in your bed NOW!" and made him cry, felt like crap and 1 minute later he was laughing at the door again. I was reinforcing the negative behavior. So now, I put them to bed, remind them it is sleeping time and leave the room. I hear them get out and play and make messes, but I don't go in, even when they cry (unless of course its a hurt cry) and sleeping is getting better. Its been less than a week... but I want to get this conquered before we move them to toddler beds (at Christmas), they can scale that crib in no time, but the toddler bed obviously gives a bit more freedom.

good luck!

Daffodils's picture
Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: 04/29/09
Posts: 73

Good luck! It seems like you've already gotten some great advice. I agree about ignoring it, that has worked for us with other behaviors. Bedtime is pretty smooth for us now, but mine are still in cribs, and frankly I am terrified to move them to toddler beds! Luckily they are nowhere near ready. I really think that not enforcing the behavior will eventually end it, it might just take awhile for them to 'get' it. Smile

And Rachel that video is adorable!

Lina5781's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 10/11/07
Posts: 68

Two things work above all else for most training situations animal, or people lol. To reward the strongest thing to encourage positive behaviors is intermittent positive reinforcement. Celebrate what they do right, but not every time.

The strongest thing to extinguish negative behaviors is ignore them. Give the tantrum no attention, positive or negative, and they will stop throwing the tantrum.

The world is not perfect, and I've learned that while the above ideas generally work, you need to find ways to make them meaningful to your situation. If them playing is about them and not about getting you to come back in the room, ignoring it isn't going to do anything. Like wise, if a reward isn't something meaningful to them, it isn't going to help. Most kids like sticker charts... some could care less about them Smile

For bed time, the most effective thing we did was to stare at the kids. We'd let them try and go to bed, but when they were carrying on too much (jumping in each others beds, throwing toys, running around) we'd stop them. Then we'd just stand in the hall way and watch them. If they went to get up we'd tell them to lay down, or get back in bed. Some nights it was the only way they would stay in their beds. Once they settled down, they'd go to sleep. I think we did this off and on for the better part of a month.

It's a phase all kids go through, but I think it hits twins (and siblings that share a room) harder because they have a friend to play with.

Last seen: 5 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/23/09
Posts: 4

My situation is similar to yours. I have a 4 yr old, 2 yr old twins, and an almost 12 mo old baby. My twins did this for a little while (about 2 weeks) at bedtime and sometimes it would be after 11pm before they would fall asleep. I agree that the best place to start is probably ignoring it. Also, not sure how your room is set up but try to get everything out of there except the bed. Mine have a bed and dresser and have now graduated to having a bookshelf. If they keep taking their beds apart I would even go for mattresses on the floor for awhile if necessary. Just slowly reintroduce things as they settle down. Another option you could try are the kidco peapod beds. We use them for travel instead of pack n plays and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. They are like little pop up tents and they zip shut. They run about $50 dollars apiece.

My two did wake up my baby in the room next door a few times but I was able to counter the problem by turning on the sound machine and fan. Sound machines run about $20 at wal-mart.

Finally, there is absolutely no way I would cut naps. First off I don't think not being tired is the issue. Plus in my opinion they are too young and you will likely end up with behavioral issues during the day instead. You don't need overtired twins on top of baby twins. Second, nap time is your only down time and with that many little ones it is the only way to maintain sanity.

Good luck. I hope this passes sooner rather than later.

Flourish's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 03/08/10
Posts: 154

I have to agree with Mel (surprise surprise lol it's rare I disagree with you mel!) in that taking away naps is not the best thing at that age. Everything I've read says a good 10-12 hours sleep at night and a 1-2 hour nap during the day is where they should be. I'm so surprised at how many people wonder why their child is so quiet and "down" all the time, and they're only getting 6-8 hours sleep a night with no nap!

That being said, it looks like they're just not wanting to sleep at night. What is your routine? It's good to have a good, long wind down routine (about an hour or more) like - bath, pajamas, lights off, songs, book, talking quietly to them, etc. I know it's hard with all the other kids, but do your best. (I also agree that ignoring them is an option, but only to a point.) Take out basically everything in their room but what they absolutely need if you can. Lie them down, tell them it's bed time, stay with them for a while, if they get up, tell them to lie back down. Important thing here is to not raise your voice - it'll just get them riled up. Always talk calmly.

Someone's going to hate me for saying this but... Spanking them is probably not helping, and is actually considered abuse in some places. If you hate doing it, stop. There's always another way. Having worked in child care I cannot tell you of the dumbest stories I've heard of what people got reprimanded over, and I'd hate for anyone to go through some stupid legal issue over something that wasn't worth it. If you feel bad hitting your kids, stop. (If you don't feel bad... well, that's another something I won't get into.)

Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/24/11
Posts: 1253

"rachelrazzle" wrote:

I so feel your pain. I posted this video on facebook today of one of my twins and the aftermath of fighting sleep. lol

I just saw this video...Cutest. Thing. Ever!

Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

Thanks Krista. Smile Makes me laugh every time I watch it. Thankfully sleep has gotten a bit better around here lately (knock on wood), and just in time for those toddler beds they are getting for Christmas. lol