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STRATEGIES IN MANAGING PRESCHOOLER BEHAVIOR IN TWINS

Common behaviors shown by preschool twins.

The preschool age from three years to five years is one filled with memories, a lot of learning and developing on the side of your twins. Like every other stage in child development it is riddled with challenges which may prove difficult to handle. Here are some of the common preschooler behavior that twins can exhibit.

Independence– at this age, preschoolers want to carry out their daily activities without much help and nagging from the parents. They may want to handle their toys, buckle themselves in the car seat or make their own bed without your assistance. Trying to offer your aid when they don’t want it can become a conflicting issue. You should give them the space to learn on their own and jump in when they express their desire for help.

Self regulation– before three years, a child is yet to develop self regulation. But at age four, children are able to self regulate and develop the art of controlling impulses. One twin may develop stronger urge control than the other but this is not to worry you as each twin’s development milestones differ. Try coaching them from an earlier age and consistently catch the behavior before it gets out of hand.

Curiosity– For preschool kids, every activity is an adventure. They want to know why the trees are moving backwards as you travel or why you used a certain word in a conversation and what it means. This can be extremely difficult especially when you are dealing with questions from two preschoolers at the same time.

Anxiety– first days will be hard for your preschoolers. They may experience separation anxiety from their twin as well as the parents when they are transitioning to start their preschool journey. Before the first day, talk to them, listen to their expectations and worries. Reassure them that they are strong and that they will pull it through. If your child is hesitant to go back to school, try digging some more in case they are experiencing bullying and challenging issues in school.

Follow simple instructions– as their language is more developed than when they were toddlers, preschoolers can listen and follow simple and basic instructions. Preschoolers have a simple understanding of what is right and wrong.

Emotional development-Preschoolers are yet to develop their emotions quite fully. As it is an ongoing process in human development, your twin preschoolers are yet to grasp the knowledge of emotion fully. This is where their fantasy world intensifies.

Preschoolers may have imaginary friends whom they play with during tea parties and pirates hunting. Their day may revolve around them being in a world of fantasy and reality interchangeably. Do not mock or make fun of their fantasies and imaginary friends as this is all part of the development process. Doing so may create a rift in your relationships with them.

 BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS

1) Lying

This is a common bad behavior reported by parents.  Preschoolers will lie to hide their embarrassment or avert the consequences of a mistake. One twin may make a mess of the living room with mud from the outside and put the blame on the other twin even if the evidence is staring right at you in the face. At this moment, their only goal is to escape the consequence which they are sure is there.

2) Defiance.

Preschoolers want to be independent. They don’t want to be told how to do a certain thing or how not to do it. “Don’t colour outside the box.” You say and yet they go ahead to color outside the box. At this age, they are testing the waters and limits of how far they can go with a behavior. It’s their nature to be curious and it’s your job to set how far the boundaries can expand.

3) Fighting

When twins are living together it is inevitable for them to fight. They will fight over toys, attention and any other thing that comes to mind. As they grow older, they will learn to handle conflict amiably and resist biting, pushing and kicking their twin or playmates.

4) Tantrums

Tantrums are not entirely predominant in the toddler phase. Preschoolers will have instances of short temper tantrums when they are in frustrating situations and when they are unable to express their feelings and emotions or when their motor skills will not allow them to carry out what their mind wants. This can be common for a twin who is not able to reach milestones faster compared to their twin.

Dealing with these bad behaviors and catching them before they progressis vital.   For discipline to be effective, parents must first develop a good relationship with their kids. Communication is  most important when trying to build and cultivate a good relationship.

When it comes to communication,

1)      Give clear instructions

Preschoolers have a short attention span compared to older kids and they will be easily distracted. To combat this, give short and precise instructions which they can clearly take in.

Try, “Please collect your toys.” Once they collect the toys, “Put the toys where they should be.” 

Over  “Collect your toys and take them to the room where they should be.”

Give one instruction and then the second when they have followed through with the first.

2)      Two choices are better than one.

Like adults, too many choices leave preschoolers lost for choice. Don’t ask, “Where should we go today?”

Instead, ask, “Choose two places you would want to visit today.”

This will keep them grounded and prevent conflicts which will arise when choices are too overwhelming for their age.

3)      Listen.

Listen to their questions. Interpret their words and dig out their fears from their tone and facial expression. Too many times, parents fail to listen and the result is a gaping bridge between preschoolers and their parents. Be there when they talk about their day and their friends. Dedicating a one on one time with each twin will rule out the possibility of one twin feeling left out.

 Tips for promoting positive preschooler behavior in twins.

1)      Be the Role Model

Kids watch, listen and then copy what they see the adults do. If you want a preschooler to eat right at the dining table, be the example and demonstrate to them how to do it. If you don’t like their language, correct yours and explain to them why using good language is an important skill in today’s society.

 2)      Maintain a schedule and routine.

 The schedule years are not yet over. Maintaining a clear routine will keep everyone within boundaries and within limits. Putting preschool twins in the same mealtime, play time and sleep routine will save time and help you care for each of them while still finding time for yourself. Routines and schedules help preschool twins know what to expect about activities and how long they take. If they know a routine, there will be a lesser chance of conflict arising.

3)      Rewards

Rewards can come in many ways from a positive praise, to a visit in their best park or a warm hug that will melt their hearts. Kid will drift towards what you give attention to. Focusing and praising their good behavior will make them more inclined to repeat the same. Focusing on the negative behavior and constant scolding will only make it more rampant.

4)      Be observant.

Look out for moments when they are throwing temper tantrums and avoid high stress activities at this time. Observe the behavior when they are playing with their twin and other playmates. This will give you insight on what you need to help them correct and an idea on how to go about it.

5)      Cooperation not control.

Preschoolers independence coupled with their curiosity is a clear sign that they do not want controlling. Go for strategies which incorporate their input and you will encounter less resistance. If they insist on climbing onto a car seat without help, compromise and ask them to let you buckle them instead.

6)      Constant reminders.

A low concentration span means that they forget easily. Remind them constantly of routines schedules and any small chores you may have assigned them.

Discipline Strategies

1)      Time outs

Before the time out, explain to yur child why he/she is receiving the punishment. A maximum of four minutes will be effective in disciplining the child. Be calm, consistent and ensure that the time out environment is healthy and safe for your child. Be firm but all the same gentle with your child.

2)      Cut out a privilege.

Take away a privilege when a child shows an escalating defiance behavior. If a child does not clear his toys after playing yet you remind him consistently, take away some toys and only give them back when they have learnt to clear after playing.

3)      The consequence rule.

Set clear rules for the house and regarding any other topic. Explain to your preschoolers the consequences they will face if they are to break these rules. Be firm and let them know that there is no way around a consequence.

Disciplining twins can prove difficult but with clear rules, routines and schedules, there will be less discipline needed. Again, if one twin has bad behavior compared to the other, avoid comparison in a negative way. Instead praise the positive behaviours you observe in them when the other twin is listening.

“I like how you stay put at dinner time.”

Chances are, the other twin would also want to get positive praise and he/she will sit and eat dinner at the table.

Disciplining preschooler twins can be a trying endeavour but with the right strategies in place, clear rules and a constant schedule and routine, there will be lesser conflicts and need for discipline.

The preschool phase is one paved with intellectual, emotional and social development. A parents gentle but firm support is what will work when trying to right preschool twin behaviours. preschoolers will outgrow most of these behaviors as they get older. If things get out of hand and preschoolers are showing extreme bad behavior, consider therapies which will rectify it.

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating. curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. It is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.