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How can I get my twins to sleep at the same time?
Q: I'm the mother of 2-year-old twin girls. Since they were babies, they have not slept well and keep me up most of the night. Now it has gotten to where they go to bed at 8:00 and by 10:00 or 11:00 they are up. They sleep on the couch and I have a pallet on the floor. I have tried to let them cry, but they share a room and when one cries it wakes the other most of the time. But I have let one cry for close to an hour, going in and telling her it was ok. This has gone on too long, I know, but how do I stop it?
A: As a mother of twins, I can be very sympathetic with your situation. Twins are very much attuned to one another and generally get on the same schedule for eating and sleeping soon after birth, even when there are big weight differences between them.

The first thing I would suggest is that you not let them go to bed at 8:00 no matter how sleepy they appear to be. And, if they are still taking an afternoon nap, try skipping that for several days in a row. If they get droopy in the evening and drop down on the floor, take them to a friend’s house for a visit or go to a mall. Keep them moving. If possible (for both them and yourself), keep them up until 11:00 or so the first few times you try this. Then hopefully they will be sleepy enough to stay down for a longer period once they are finally put down.

I think that what has happened is that they are basically using the 8:00 bedtime as an afternoon nap and then waking up accordingly. If you can break the pattern even briefly, the chances are that their sleep behaviour will change.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education