When it comes to twin toddlers discipline, each home has its own set of policies and rules that they follow. Some use time outs while others will go for reasoning, redirecting or reinforcing positive behavior. But we have to agree on one thing, that for discipline to work- when kids transition into self-disciplined individuals who respect others, themselves and know how to keep out of harm’s way because learned discipline was effective, there must be:
- A relationship of love and trust between the child and parent. Only then will a child understand that the parent is disciplining in love and not out of an authoritarian and dictatorship nature. The emotional tone should be taken into account. Children are observers. As much as their emotional intelligence is not fully developed, they can read in between the lines and understand your body expressions. If you yell when disciplining, kids will attach fear, anxiety, and self-inadequacy with discipline. In the end, both parents and children end up with the dreaded feeling of failure.
- Consistency must be kept. Disciplining today and failing to do so tomorrow will cost the behavior of your child. Keep the consistency rule and have a better chance of making it work when it comes to disciplining your twin toddlers.
Dealing with fights between twin toddlers
When twins are living under the same roof, it is inevitable that they will fight over their shared toys, potty use, privileges and attention even if at times they appear to be best of friends.
This rivalry can escalate and turn the house into a battlefield with you playing the role of mediator. These strategies will help you quell the fights and bring some peace.
If every adult was taught the art of respecting boundaries as a child, there would be lesser fights and mayhem in the world today. Kids will always emulate what parents do. If you as a parent do not respect boundaries with your child, he is not likely to respect those mapped out when it comes to his twin and other playmates. Before the respect part is discussed, set out clear boundaries when it comes to sharing toys and how the two treat each other. Teach about personal space and back with reason and the importance of boundaries.
Everybody wants to be in a team, to belong, and so do kids. And what’s better than being in a team and enjoying something you both like. There will be fewer twin fights and rivalry when they both find common ground. Try instilling the partnership and a sharing model in your twin toddlers’ life. Identify something they both like and let them try doing it together.
It could be dancing to a song they both like even if your two-year-olds cannot move in rhythm or building a castle that needs all the hands it can get. Involve the whole family as well by planning family movie nights, and play day. Crary’s children’s book I Want It will help teach toddlers transitioning into preschoolers how to ask for something without being mean.
Twins are different individuals with the same parents from whom they expect, love, reassurance, and support. One child’s language of love is different from the other twin. One can love cuddles and hugs while the other twin will appreciate a little help here and there or a reassuring word from the parent. Neutrality is not giving the same kind of attention, love and time to each child. It is striking a balance between both your children’s needs with their personality in mind while making sure that you get ample time with each one of them separately. But when it comes to discipline, neutrality is recommended. You want to eliminate the possibility of one toddler feeling as if you are unfair in how you discipline them.
The bitten and the bitter
Mike hauls himself on Cecil, grabs her toy and throws her crayons all over the floor. Cecil runs to you to complain of what her twin, Mike, has been doing for the past one week.
Most parents would go ahead and discipline Mike for his bad toddler and neglect one other important thing, teaching Cecil how to act in situations of fights, bullying, and harassment. Role-play is important in helping children know how to act in whatever situations life brings on.
Disciplining is not only for eradicating bad behavior in kids, but it is also an important tool in teaching kids important life lessons. Next time your twins are fighting, discipline the one responsible and teach the other on how to deal with such a situation without bringing the issue of villain and victim because they are both your kids, they only need some little help in getting to the right direction.
As parents to twin toddlers, you have expectations of the milestones you’d want your kids to hit, the development goals you are anticipating and how you would want them to turn out. Perfect kids don’t exist and more times than once, your twins through fights, squabbles, and tantrums will break those expectations. It’s okay to have expectations but have them realistic while considering your child’s age, development, personality, and temperament, then guide them towards that.
Use track charts
This is a great tool for parents to track and evaluate how the discipline strategies they are taking are working out. How is time out working for Mike and how Cecil is taking the reasoning type of reinforcement? Keeping a log of progress will give you a better insight to monitor and track the discipline progress. A track chart helps you identify patterns of behavior that your twins may be following before a fight breaks out.
Pediatrics Child Health recommends rules and limits as an important part of the discipline process. Rules help toddlers to keep within the set limits all the while experimenting with their curiosity safely.
Unacceptable discipline and punishments will only push a toddler to experiment more on what they are asked not to do. Parents should set rules and limits which are realistic and will be beneficial in disciplining twin toddlers.
Tips for setting rules and limits or twin toddler discipline.
Avoid making threats without consequences.
As already stated, children are observers. They observe how a parent threatens to take away a toy if they don’t clear it next time yet parents never follow through with the consequences. This will be a go-ahead that they can leave the toys on the floor and no consequences will follow.
Choose your battle
Ignore irrelevant toddler behavior like swinging legs on the chair at the dinner table and focus on helping them correct the crucial behavior such as temper tantrums, fighting, biting and defiance.
Reasonable consistent limits
Keeping up schedule and routines consistently in the implementation of rules will ensure that your toddlers are aware of what is expected of them and what consequence they will get for breaking certain rules.
It comes down to discipline priority.
What is the most important thing you want your children to learn first? This is the recommended priority rule you can follow depending on your toddlers’ behavior.
Give priority to discipline which covers safety issues. Toddlers are especially prone to wander off into unsafe places which may put theirs and others’ lives in jeopardy.
2) Harmful Behavior towards others
Now is the right time to deal with the hitting, the biting and the fighting.
3) Temper tantrums
Temper tantrums are frustrating and toddlers will outgrow them especially when disciplined and handled as they should be.
“Adults caring for children should use healthy forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits, redirecting, and setting future expectations. Parents should avoid spanking, hitting, threatening, insulting, humiliating, slapping or shaming.”- AAP
Twin toddlers discipline should not instill abandonment, guilt or loss of trust between parents and their kids. It should instead create a better sense of trust, care, and relationship between a parent and a child. When addressing consequences, apply them as soon as possible, preferably immediately after a child calms down. Consequences should be brief and parents should avoid yelling at their kids. Research has shown that long term yelling can result in anxiety, fear, and delay of a child’s development. After a consequence, hug your child, talk about forgiveness and reassure them of your love.