As your babies turn into little people with personalities, opinions and emotions, you should factor in spending some time one on one with twins, or each of your multiples.
Tips to Spend One on One Time with Twins or Multiples
One of the hardest things about having twins or multiple babies is finding the time. Finding the time for anything, I mean. Looking after newborn twins takes approximately 19 hours a day!
You probably fit in the essentials, like keeping your babies alive, and regularly keeping bottoms clean and getting them to stop crying and have some sleep. But beyond that, you might struggle to find time to do anything else.
As your babies turn into little people with personalities, opinions, and emotions, you should factor in spending some time one on one with each of your multiples.
Fostering an individual identity for each child is important for their development, and establishing a personal relationship with each child is very important for your family.
Here are some tips that have worked for me and other mums of twins and multiples, to try to get this one on one time with twins in.
It may be hard in the beginning
Not only will it be difficult for you to juggle time-wise, but the separation may be difficult for your twins. They will miss each other, and the one without mum may be particularly upset.
It is important though so stick with it, and it will get easier for everyone. Exchange lots of stories when you get back together about all the fun everyone had. Think up one surprising or new thing for your twin to tell the other one when they get back together.
Divide chores and activities between parents
The basic strategy of spending time with one child means that someone else is looking after the other one. When they are tiny, you can get one on one time with a twin while the other is sleeping, but when they get a bit older, you may need to leave the house to get the same quality time.
Arrange for your partner to have an activity at the same time with the other child. Swap children the next time you do this. If your partner isn’t available, you may need to pull in some help from your wider family and friend network.
Swap time off with a friend with a baby, although you may need to pay her back twice.
Schedule in one on one time with twins or multiples – and stick to it!
The only way to get anything done is to schedule it in and then make sure that you stick to your schedule. It is an important activity, and becomes more and more important to your children as they get older, so cannot be ignored.
Putting in the time and effort at this early makes it easier in the long-term. It will also build a stronger relationship sooner, so you don’t need to try so hard at one on one time later on.
So plan it, write it down, put in on the fridge or in the giant family planner on the wall. Make sure it’s scheduled!
Look for different interests in your children, and encourage these
As soon as your children start to become interested in different things you can encourage these interests. This is a good way for your other child or children to not feel left out; this outing today is for your son who likes soccer, tomorrow you will take the other one to an art class, guitar lesson or to the library.
Practical tips to get one on one time with twins or multiples
When they are smaller, take advantage of their differing schedules. If one wakes earlier, make this time precious for just the two of you while their sibling sleeps a bit longer.
Take a longer time to bathe each child individually and make it special bonding time. Wash hair, play games, tell stories, sing songs, use bubbles – just make each bath individual quality time instead of just something you have to get done. Bathe your children individually on alternate days; they won’t be that dirty anyway!
If you need to duck out to the shops take one with you. Yes, it would be quicker and easier to leave them both home with your partner, but you’d be surprised how special these little moments will be to your children. And the one staying home gets one on one time with the other parent as well!
In addition to having a double pram, buy cheap individual strollers as well, to encourage activities with individual babies. Two of these is best, so one parent can get out with one child each, and go in entirely different directions.
As they get older plan specific days where your child gets an activity with you, and talk about it beforehand. Give them choices of things to do and let them help plan it. This anticipation helps them through tougher days or the moments when you need to focus on their sibling instead of them.
Be in the moment when you are there
You don’t need to spend hours and hours to get the benefit of the one on one time with twins. Little children don’t have much more than 20 minutes attention span anyway.
It just needs to be in short bursts and regularly so that they start to feel the lovely positive effects.
And to give you the best benefit you need to focus on this moment as well. Try not be distracted by all the other things you need to do when you get home, or by hurrying this up.
Focus on your child intently. Take in the expression on their face, feel their hand in yours or their hair under your caress and really concentrate on these details.
When your child is speaking, completely focus on them and listen. Ask interested questions to show that what they are saying matters to you.
You can get big impact from short bursts of individual time by doing it mindfully. Little children are always in the moment – you could get so much more from being there too.