Setting up a toddler room for twins – what nobody tells you
Over the past months, it’s become crystal clear that my son was ready to make the transition from cot to bed. At just over two years old, this seems to be a pretty typical time to change things up, so my husband and I started making some changes. The problem was (and still is) that although my son was ready, his twin sister wasn’t.
How did I know my son was ready to move out of his cot?
My son has always been quite a climber and is always trying to scale the furniture. A few months ago he worked out how to get out of his little cot which would then lead to him rampaging around upstairs until I came to retrieve him and sit with him until he fell asleep. We have two cots and one has slightly higher sides that he hadn’t been able to climb until now, but now he can get out of that too, it’s clear that he needs a big boy bed!
The plan for the room
After a little test run while staying at my mum’s house, my husband and I decided that the best option for us would be to go in a vaguely Montessori direction for the twins’ bedroom. The bed would be low to the ground and there would be a few selected safe toys to play with in the room. The rest of the room would be baby proofed and safe, and the door would be left open with a high baby gate blocking the doorway – this way my husband and I can easily monitor what’s going on in the room and the twins can quietly look at their books and toys until they’re tired.
How did I know my daughter wasn’t ready for the transition?
My husband and I rearranged the nursery and took the side off the cot to turn it into a bed. My son was in his element – he played until he was tired and then took himself over to the bed when he was tired. My daughter however, played happily for a bit, but got incredibly distressed when she got tired and wasn’t sure what to do. I put her on the bed with her duvet a number of times, but she was inconsolable and would find her way back to the middle of the room and cry. My heart broke for her – she was clearly upset and didn’t understand what was going on or what to do.
As soon as it was clear that the new arrangement wasn’t going to work for my daughter, my husband worked quickly to get a travel cot set up in our bedroom. As soon as we put her in, she calmed down and seemed to be soothed by the familiarity of the cot – it wasn’t long before she dozed off and I was able to keep an eye on her through the night as she was in the room with me.
Moving forward, I think she will stay in the room with my husband and me for a few days and then we might try moving the travel cot back into the nursery – that way she can stay awake with her brother for a little bit and when she starts getting tired, I can put her in the travel cot in the same room. When she needs to nap, I’ll try putting her down on the bed to sleep so she can start getting used to it. Hopefully, by easing her into the new bedroom layout slowly, and letting her see how her brother does things, we can make her transition easier.
This is one of those things that nobody ever told me as a twin parent, but my twins are so different from each other that it makes sense that they are developing at different rates and are ready for new things at completely different times. My job as a twin parent is to make sure that both of my twins’ needs are met, which is a bit of a conundrum in this particular scenario, but my husband and I will work together to make sure the twins are both happy and have what they need.
If any other twin parents have been in this situation, I would love to hear how you managed it!