Kids grow and develop quite fast. Just as you are getting comfortable and used to them being in a certain age, they snap out of it. Soon enough the fruits of your labor are here. They are sweet newborn twins that you rock to sleep and feed without a struggle. And then, in an instance, they are trying to outdo each other on who can pull what may appear like the most dangerous stunt. Welcome to the toddler phase! But wait, how do you manage twin toddlers?
Your babies are now free, uninhibited, curious, excited and full of joy, which creates lots of moments to savor. However, they also seem wired to test your limits by crossing any imaginable boundaries, and not forgetting that they can’t even communicate properly.
As they explore self-independence and sufficiency, they achieve different milestones around the same time. Being a first time mom of twins, this stage tested my limits. The fact that I had no support system even made it worse. Thankfully we made it through. Looking back, here are the lessons I learnt on how to manage twin toddlers
Different Ways of Managing Twin Toddlers: Remaining Sane as their Primary Caregiver
If you take care of yourself, it becomes easier to deal with your twin toddlers. Whenever I have everything under control, caring for my toddlers becomes fun and I make better decisions. I have learnt with time that a happy mom equals a happy home, and that kids can easily catch up with negative vibes. To manage twin toddlers, you have to take care of yourself first. Remaining sane as their caregiver is essential for you and their wellbeing.
1. Avoid Multitasking
When tasked with multiple responsibilities, it might seem like doing different things at the same time is the quickest way to get by. I have been at a point where I could not afford child care, had to do it all and ended up taking the multitasking route. With twins, the demands are even higher. You find yourself wearing a baby while rocking the other one as you get dinner going.
What this does is diminish the quality of each task as your attention is divided. To deliver better care to your twins and avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one thing at a time. This sounds easier said than done, right? I know, which is what leads us to the next point.
2. Get Help
Toddlers are always experimenting and you can barely take your eyes off them or there will be a disaster. Looking after them while taking care of other household chores is physically draining and you are likely to run behind on some things. It is also possible to get so much engrossed in the daily routine that you lose your sense of self.
To ease things up, ask for help whenever you need it. If there is no one around your circle to offer it, then hire. Get a baby sitter to come in once in a while so you can get a break, have someone help you with the house chores or any other area. When there is someone taking care of stuff, you can divert your attention to other areas. Dedicate the time to your personal growth and appearance, hanging out with friends, checking on your business or even taking your toddlers to the park for a change.
3. Use your Time Appropriately
With so much to do while caring for toddlers, time is never enough. By the end of the day, you may feel like you did not get enough things done despite the exhaustion. Organizing your work allows you to transition from one task to the other smoothly while making good use of the time you have. Make a to-do list so you can prioritize what’s important. Start with tasks that require your undivided attention early in the morning before they wake up and ease your way up through the day. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you have a plan.
4. Take Care of your General Well-being
As hard as the primary care givers work, there are those moments when it can all come tumbling down. I remember this one time when my toddlers were playing right under my nose but my attention was not focused on them. The next thing I knew, one of them fell hard on the floor and sustained an injury on his forehead.
I felt less of a mum and blamed myself for it. May be if I had been keen enough, that wouldn’t have happened. However, this was not the last time I would witness unprecedented events, which taught me to take things for what they are and not beat myself up every time something goes wrong. In the above case, it was just an accident.
Whenever I feel like the heat is too much for me to handle, unmotivated, overwhelmed, or stressed, I take a break from it all to recharge. I love taking long walks around our home. Interacting with nature is refreshing and calming. It re-energizes me. Kicking my day off with meditation also helps me remain focused during the day. Identify what makes you feel relieved and go for it.
How to Manage Twin Toddlers: Acknowledging Different Aspects of their Development
The twin toddler stage is not only physically but also mentally and emotionally draining and overwhelming. The babies know what they want, are exploratory, choosy, and want to try different tastes and textures. There is a whole new world for them to discover, and the new experiences come with uncertainty and apprehension as they struggle to adjust. It is, however, a season to cherish as soon enough they will be off to school. While they may seem like too much hard work, below are different aspects of twin toddlers’ life and how to manage them.
5. Identify their Personality Traits
Even when they come with identical physical features, there is no guarantee that their personalities will match. It is, therefore, essential to give due attention to each child. Analyzing how your twins respond to different situations helps understand their personalities. This will aid in understanding them better so you can help them navigate different issues appropriately.
When you are aware of their traits, it becomes easy to treat each twin as an individual. You can, therefore, offer guidance on different ways of managing their frustration and identify what works for each toddler. Know who takes charge between the two, is more assertive, when to expect drama and if that drama is a need for attention, what triggers it and how to avoid meltdowns. A great way of identifying their personalities is by letting to control their environment so you can watch how they react to different situations.
6. Reinforce their Safety
Baby proofing your house is vital as your toddlers are now starting to navigate different parts of the house. There is no telling what will pique their interest next or where they will be exploring and climbing. Twin proofing your home will not only keep them safe but also prevent destruction of valuable items.
Since their personalities are different, their safety needs may also differ. Tailor the safety precautions to suit each toddler’s needs. Minimize their temptations by keeping all breakables out of sight. Remove tipped furniture and cover all the power outlets.
7. Foster Independence
Even when there are other siblings in a home, twins tend to pair up more often than they do with other kids around them. As much as this is okay since they are age mates and probably identify with the same stuff, encourage them to play separately and even alone. Fostering independence promotes individuality, which ensures that toddlers can get along just fine in the absence of the other twin.
8. Create Rules
Toddlers understand when you say no. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t test your sanity by crossing every possible boundary. Set clear rules and establishing consequences for not following them. Remain consistent on implementing the two, so they know what is allowed and what is not. For example, in my house there is a no-hitting rule. This means that we don’t tolerate it even when it is meant to be part of a game or play time.
9. Ensure Fairness in Sharing
As they grow independent, kids get attached to specific things. This can brew fights between siblings if they are interested in the same thing at the same time, which could happen even when you bought the items in pairs. To minimize fights for toys and other items, teach them how to share but let it be fair. They can do this by taking turns using something during play time.
Approach the concept of sharing with caution. Do not force a twin to give up an item simply because the other one is whining and crying for it. Instead, give each child a timeframe to use the desired item before passing it on to their sibling. You can use a timer for this. Once they are assured that they get equal turns at the same thing, it becomes easier to give it up.
10. Quelling Fights
Twins may love each other but there are times when they just won’t get along. Fights may emanate from common interests such as toys or one toddler wanting their space. When dealing with fights, treat both children equally and pay attention to how you intervene. Once they calm down, discuss alternative ways of conflict resolution in age-appropriate terms. Follow it up with positive reinforcement whenever they follow through with it.
11. Dealing with Pickiness
When it comes to eating, children establish their likes and dislikes early enough. They will have a favorite plate, cup, spoon, and food. These may not be the same yet sufficient nutrition is essential for the toddlers’ development. They also make meal time frustrating. It even gets worse when both kids won’t feed well.
To ensure that their nutritional needs are catered for even when one or both of the toddlers are picky, be consistent in providing them with healthy options. The tantrums during meal time are a developmental stage and will go away with time. Establish a feeding routine of three regular meals and healthy snacks in between meals each day. Involve them in picking and preparing new foods so they are more open to trying them. For aesthetic appeal, play around with the presentation. Keep trying until you find what works for them. If you are afraid that they are not receiving adequate nutrition, see a doctor.
12. Be Patient when Potty Training
Potty training is different for every child. While one method may work for a specific child, it may not work for the other. Whenever your multiples exhibit signs of readiness, simply apply the basic principles of potty training.
Get all the necessary equipment ready and establish a routine. Place the toddlers on the potty during regular intervals within the day. Also, remain keen throughout the day so you can identify when they have an urge to go to the bathroom. This way you can intercept them before they start and get them to use the potty o time.
Whenever you attain any positive results, reinforce the behavior through words of affirmation and praise. Avoid scolding the twins whenever they don’t make it or when accidents happen. Instead, encourage them so they feel empowered to do it. The key to successful potty training with twin toddlers is to remain consistent and patient.
13. Allow them to Cry
Though unsettling, crying is natural and it is okay for a child to cry. While the most immediate that comes to mind is run to soothe them and stop them from crying, it denies them a chance to channel out the emotions they are feeling. Instead of focusing on quietening them as soon as you can, give them a safe space to cry. Afterwards, calmly acknowledge their issues and restore their peace while addressing their reason for disappointment.
14. Be Firm when Dealing with Tantrums
We all know that terrible feeling when your kid throws a fit especially in public. You just want it to stop. Toddlers come with temper tantrums. When you have twins, you get double the dose. While they are not something you can control entirely, learn to anticipate and arrest them before they progress to a full-blown meltdown.
Turn the experience into teachable moments by focusing attention on the twin with an issue at the moment. Be firm and consistent in correcting them. The aim is for the toddlers to learn and gradually encourage each other to be in their best behavior as opposed to provoking bad behavior. It might take time to master the art of quelling tantrums but when you give them time and keep reinforcing positive habits through repetition, it will stick.
15. Having Uninhibited Fun
While there are many ways to have fun with your toddlers, managing them while at it is the challenge. Going out may be straining but it shouldn’t stress you out. You want your toddlers to enjoy themselves while staying under control. Plan ahead of time so you are aware of how things will go once you get there. Opt for area that are accessible with a double stroller to make navigating around easy.
Explore convenient places that you can let them run wild. The aim is to provide an avenue for them to channel out their excess energy. To start you off, scout for venues that are comfortable for all of you. This could mean a fenced park or open public place such as a church with an open area where they can play.
When people invite you to places and you are nervous about keeping them under control, it is okay to turn down offers. You know your children and if you are certain things won’t work out, act in their best interest. If you decide to wait until they are a little older, organize play dates in your home. Indoor play activities can also do wonders for your toddlers. These include an indoor slide, play tunnel, play house, ball castle or tandem swing.
The different activities will get them playing together, distract them from fighting for toys, encourage exploration and exhaust them enough so they can easily take a nap. It is an effective way of getting off their pent up energy.
The road to parenting twins can feel pretty lonely and overwhelming especially for first time parents. As they grow, twins learn and develop varying interests and personality traits. Managing them becomes quite challenging as they have different needs. To get you through this phase, build a support system so you can get an escape and encouragement whenever you need them. Another way to ease the journey is to stop comparing yourself or the twins with others. Concentrate on watching them grow at their own pace and it will be easy to navigate through the toddler years.