I don’t know if you ere anything like me when you thought about having a baby? I pictured myself curled up in a spotless white couch, with my child sitting quietly in my arms as I read them book after book.
And then I had twins.
And I was so busy chasing them in different directions that reading books was so far down the “to do” list that it barely happened. And then of course I felt guilty I wasn’t reading to them enough. I knew the benefits of reading books, but it was just too hard!
So how do you go about reading to twins or triplets them ripping the book away and fighting over it?
Remember……….there are NO RULES when it comes to reading to twins and triplets. You don’t have to read the whole book. You don’t even have to read the actual book, you can just talk about it and point certain things out, or better still get them to point things out to you. Just do what you can and do whatever works best for you and your family.
Here are some tips to help.
Reading to twins or triplets on the couch
This may seem like a pipe dream, but trust me when I say that one day this will be possible! In the mean time, sit with them on the couch and just talk about what’s on the page and ask them to point out things. They can take all turns turning the page.
There will be a lot of directing their hands away unless they’re in a cuddle and page turning mood. Remember toddlers need to move, so don’t get discouraged if they walk about while you read. It’s important to just have books around and talk about them right now.
Be firm about how books need to be treated. Explain to them that you need to be gentle with books. Reinforce that books are for gentle hands only and that they can not have them if they tear them etc.
Board books are the best!
Board books have come a long way. No longer is it just simple ABC and counting books that come in board books. We had several great Julia Donaldson board books, such as Room on the Broom and other fabulous books like “The tiger that came to tea”. This enabled us to be able to read great books, while keeping the pages safe from multiple inquisitive hands.
We used to keep the board books in the loungeroom, for them to access at their own free will. The paper books were kept on a higher shelf in their bedroom.
Reading to twins or triplets while in their cots
Reading to twins or triplets may be easier if you read to them while they are in their cots. If you are looking for a bit of quiet wind down time before bed, you can pop them in the cots, dim the lights and read to them from a chair in the middle of their cots. You can always show them certain pages and pictures as required.
Read to them while they are in their highchairs
You could even attempt to be super-efficient and read to them while they are eating their lunch etc. This may (no promises!) have a double bonus of they will be too engrossed in the book to throw their food onto the floor!!
You could try and read to them like a librarian or child care worker reads, with the book on your lap facing towards them in their high chair.
Give them their own book or something else to hold while you read to them
You could try to give them each a book to hold. This allows you to read the one you are holding while they turn the pages of theirs.
Or read to them while they have their bottle to keep their hands occupied.
Reading to twins or triplets on the floor
There is no rule that says they must sit on your lap on the couch while you read. Pull out a couple of books (ideally board books!) and sit on the floor and let them pick which book they want to read. They will hopefully be content to sit with you on the floor.
You may find that they are not particularly interested sometimes. Don’t give up though. Persevere, and still read to them. Show them the pictures and describe what’s going on in them. A lot of the just talking to them and showing them pictures gauges their interest enough and even if they weren’t interested to begin with, they become interested.
Try and keep them engaged by pointing out things in the picture, or ask them to point out things. Use some funny voices, make sounds (like barking if there is a dog on the page). By making it fun and silly, you are likely to hold their attention for longer.
It is OK if they wander off to play with something else at the same time. You will find that they will most likely come and go.
Divide and conquer
If there is someone else around, then spilt up and take a child per person. This is a great way to get some one on one time with one of your multiples.
Sensory books are fabulous for reading to twins or triplets as they help keep them engaged. They love to touch and feel all the different textures. Lift the flap books are great too, but sadly they aren’t very robust!
Most libraries let you borrow audio books, and the best thing is they just automatically disappear from your account when the load period is up. So you can’t loose them or get a late fee!
Audio books are great for car trips, or even just to have on in the background while they are colouring etc.
Or if you find yourself stuck somewhere, rather than letting them watch TV shows on your phone, find some videos of other people reading childrens books on you tube!
Reading to twins or triplets can be difficult, there is no denying it. But hang in there. It is worth it, and it does eventually get easier. All too soon they will be reading to themselves and won’t want you to read to them anymore. ☹
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