Bringing home twins when you have a toddler waiting to welcome them to the family can be a juggling act. Here are some tips to make the whole process a bit smoother.
Bringing Home Triplets or Twins When You Have a Toddler
Try as we might to not disrupt an older child’s life when several siblings come home from the hospital, it is likely to happen anyway. Bringing home triplets or twins when you have a toddler waiting to welcome them to the family can be a juggling act.
The main thing for your toddler is to know that life is going to be as normal and as consistent as possible. This can be a challenge given that many things are going to change with the addition of two tiny babies to the household.
Here are some tips that can help with bringing home triplets or twins when you have a toddler
Introduce them as a family
When your toddler meets your babies for the first time, it can be a good idea to do this introduction just as a family unit, of you, your partner and your children.
Let someone else (partner or grandparents) have your babies while you make a fuss over your toddler; this is likely the first time he has seen you in a couple of days while you were on the labour ward, and may be the first time you two have been apart.
(You may even want to let your toddler have a sleep over with whoever he will be staying with when the babies are born so he gets used to having a night away from mummy.)
Then when he is ready, introduce your toddler to the babies while you and your partner give everyone lots of kisses and cuddles.
Exchange gifts between the babies and their older sibling
This is a simple tip, but one that has lots of meaning, and will really stand out to your toddler as something very special.
Go shopping with him in the lead up to your babies being born and let him choose a gift for each baby that is just from him. Let him help you wrap them and ‘write’ on a card as well. Then when he meets his siblings for the first time he can give them these gifts as a first time big brother.
You will also have bought a gift for your toddler ‘from the babies’ so he has something special to mark this moment as well. This also stops him from feeling left out when you and the babies are getting all of the pressies as well.
When bringing home triplets or twins when you have you a toddler, make your toddler your big helper
Make your toddler feel special every day by asking him to be your big helper. Toddlers are at the perfect age for this, and simple love the responsibility of helping out. This reminds them that they are important, and involves them in everyday activities with the babies. It also gives them more time with you, which is the one thing they want more than anything else right now.
You can get him to help directly with the babies, or buy him his own ‘baby’, with tools like a toy high chair, cradle and baby bath. He can sit beside you looking after his baby while you tend to yours.
Make sure focus is still put on your toddler
Make as big a deal about your toddler as you did before the babies were conceived, and make sure that everybody else does too.
At this time, it can be natural to have everyone gushing over the babies, especially as there is more than one. Make sure that family, visitors and even your partner remember to give your toddler his own focused attention, and don’t have everything be about the babies.
Make sure you still have one on one time with your toddler
One of the beautiful things about having multiples is that these babies will never know a time when they weren’t sharing you with another child. This means they will likely feel less left out or jealous, as they haven’t lost precious one on one time with you – they never experienced it in the first place!
But your older child will see a distinct difference in the amount of time he received alone with mummy and then how much he gets after your multiple babies come home.
Set special time aside to focus entirely on your older child, and point it out to him. Schedule a time of day, or a task you do together and have this be your special thing.
He will look forward to this time, and will also recognise how important he still is (and always will be!) to you.
A newborn wont remember if you don’t attend to them immediately, but your toddler will. Try to always prioritise your toddlers needs (obviously there are occasions when this isn’t possible).
Help him to understand his feelings
Many older siblings feel resentment and anger towards their baby siblings because they see them as the reason for so much change in the home.
Your toddler will very likely not understand his feelings, and may not be able to express them healthily. Instead, he may express his feelings by lashing out in anger at you or at the babies. He may also express frustration, perhaps with increasing tantrums, or regressing in significant milestones as a way to get more of your attention.
Give him plenty of your attention when he is good and point this out to him, so he is less likely to need to crave any attention. Make sure you praise his good behaviour. Acknowledge his feelings and help him to voice them. You might find an emotion chart helps, or describing feelings in terms of colours or physical sensations in his body.
Tell him that you know what he is feeling and that it is normal. By acknowledging his emotions in this way you are going a long way to help him work through them, even if you can’t immediately take his anger or frustration away.
Work through this time together and he will grow up to be a proud and compassionate older brother.