Finally, a date with your couch and your favorite Netflix show. You’ve chased the kids through the park, inhaled bits of your own dinner in between cramming broccoli bits into their mouths, and wrestled them into jammies after a visit to the splash pad (also known as the bathtub). Your twins are in bed. The sweet sound of silence echoes through your house. Many tears have been shed (by you and by them) during their middle of the night jam sessions. But by and large, you are soaking in those golden moments in early parenthood when they sleep through the night, snug and secure in their cozy cribs. Alas, you hear a thump in the night and then another. Just like that, your babies are babies no more. Look out world, the big kids are ready for big kid beds!
So what’s a parent to do to make this a terrific transition? Here are some key considerations to make the change as smooth as possible.
1. Consider Your Timing
Truth be told, there will never be a ‘best’ time to transition to toddler beds. Left to their own devices, some kids would never even attempt a crib escape until well into their third year. Others are itching to hop out as soon as they can pull up on their wobbly legs. Generally, the transition to a toddler bed happens between 2 and 3 years of age. If you have twins in the same sleep space, whenever one is ready, the other will likely follow. As soon as they are making serious crib exit attempts, you will need to make a decision on how best to keep them safe.
If you feel that they are on the young side to jump ship, there are some options that can help you prolong their crib time until everyone is good and ready to give the big beds a go. A crib safety tent could be one option for preventing jail breaks. You could also consider securing your twins in toddler sleep sacks to keep their nocturnal mobility to a minimum. These temporary stop gaps can be quite helpful, especially if you have anything coming up that may disrupt your routine, such as holidays or travel. When you are prepared to move on, there are several good children’s books on the market to ease the transition.
2. Consider Your Setup
Each family will have a different set up and dynamics to consider. First, you will want to assess your baby proofing plan. Your main priority is safety, so you will want to ensure that furniture is secure, doors can be kept childproof, outlets are safe, and climbing opportunities are minimized. You may also want to shuffle around toys so reduce the amount of mess they can make. Keep the twin bedroom mostly as a place for sleep.
If your twins are on the younger side, you may want to go for a toddler bed rather than a full size mattress. Many cribs these days are convertible, so you can easily remove the side rail and give them a chance to test the waters of a big kid bed. The benefit here is that the low height will make it easily for them to get in and out of the beds on their own. And even if you don’t have a convertible crib, toddler beds are rather affordable and can utilize a crib mattress. Many children are able to sleep in toddler beds well into their preschool years, so it may make financial sense for some. This may be especially true if they are not yet potty trained and you don’t want to worry as much about an expensive new mattress. The low height can be particularly helpful when you do tackle potty training and they need easy bathroom access.
If you want to go ahead and invest in the beds they will have for years to come, you have a few options. You may start out with the mattresses on the ground until they are comfortable sleeping in an adult sized bed without rolling off. If you want to start off with a more permanent setup with a traditional bedframe, invest in a good bed rail to keep them safe. Inflatables ones are even available or you could also do the pool noodle hack where you wedge the noodles under the sheet to prevent a tumble.
Another consideration is whether to keep twins who are currently in the same space together or to go ahead and separate them. Don’t feel bogged down by the decision as you can always change your mind or have an interim set up. Many parents will keep them together for nighttime but choose a separate space for naps as they get older. To the extent you can, have some flexibility and patience as you work out the kinks. A few late night parties and they will probably settle back into their routine once the novelty wears off.
3. Consider Technology
While parenting in the modern world comes with a whole host of problems our parents never considered, it also comes with some pretty sweet conveniences. If you haven’t already invested in a baby monitor, consider getting one. Baby monitor prices have never been lower, and the ability to check in on late night shenanigans without disrupting the twins is invaluable. Also, working on a morning routine is very helpful once they can pop out of bed at a moment’s notice. Consider purchasing an okay to wake alarm clock. These handy devices light up when it is time to leave the room and can help prevent toddlers from showing up in your room at 3 a.m. There is nothing scarier than 2 sets of eyes staring you down in the dead of night.
As with all transitions you go through with your twins, it may be a little harder before it gets easier. With a little calm and patience, you will be back to your relaxing evening and a full night’s sleep in no time. You can do this!
About the Author
Out-of-the-box thinker, Krystal Workman, gets creative under stress…and life with twins happens to be full of it! In order to soothe her crying babies while alone, Krystal invented the first ergonomic twin baby carrier—TwinGo Carrier (www.TwinGoCarrier.com)—to cuddle both her babies at the same time. TwinGo now empowers thousands of parents worldwide to keep their babies close. As former President of one of the largest twins clubs in the USA, Krystal assists new parents with babywearing, breastfeeding, sleep coaching, healthy routines, and positive discipline. You can get more twin-related information on the TwinGo Blog.