10 Tips for Managing Multiples
Dr. Patricia Nan Anderson
Health, Wellness, & Safety
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Raising children one at a time is difficult enough. But if you’ve been blessed with twins – or triplets! – it takes a bit of an attitude adjustment just to keep up. Here are some time-honored tips for parents of multiples, tips that work just as well for the harried parent-of-one too!
1. Get a schedule and stay organized. You say you’ve never been a schedule sort of person, letting your life be dictated by the clock or the calendar. But now is the moment to give that a try. Knowing when something is supposed to happen, keeping a to-do list, and checking stuff off will help you stay on track when your brain seems fuzzy and will also let so
2. Use time-saving devices even if you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person. There will be plenty of time later to bake your own bread or whatever. Get a crockpot, shop online and have things delivered, don’t even think about ironing anything. Less is more.
3. Cut back on outside commitments. Learn to say “I’m sorry, I just can’t.” No need to explain why (as if being the parent of twins isn’t an obvious reason). Whether you’re asked to volunteer for your church or babysit your cousin’s child or work overtime, your answer should be “no.”
4. Accept help every time it’s offered. Never say, “Oh, that’s okay; I’ll manage.” This is not the time to be a hero. If someone wants to do something for you, let him do it – and don’t dictate how it gets done. Just be grateful and be gracious.
5. Treat your children as individuals, not as parts of a set. They are cute together. But start right away to let them be themselves. You’ve probably already noticed that even identical twins have their own personalities and quirks. Honor those differences. Your children are not fractions, they are wholes.
6. If you keep a baby book, keep separate books for each of your children. They will eventually have families of their own, perhaps, and maybe will want to take their own books with them. Yes, it’s double the work and often the pictures and memories are the same for each child. But keeping separate books is what you would have done if the children had been born a year apart. Keeping separate baby books helps you remember they are separate people.
7. Don’t make comparisons between them. Just like other siblings, kids who are twins or triplets develop on their own timetables. Not even identicals do things identically. So be careful about making one child be the standard that her sibling must match. Be careful about saying things like, “He’s behind” or “she’s always first.”
8. Not everything should be shared. Kids need their own possessions, their own friends, and their own interests. Certainly infants may share nearly everything, including their clothes. But don’t think this will continue. Even toddlers want their own stuff and are reluctant to share their most prized possessions. Being a twin or triplet doesn’t change that. Let each of your children go his own way.
9. Expect that kids who are multiples may be slower to develop than singletons. Multiples are usually smaller at birth than single-born children and may be gestationally younger. So naturally it might take them longer to learn to roll over, to sit up, to walk and to talk. That’s okay. They’ll catch up.
10. Find a twins group to hang out with. Only other parents of multiples really appreciate the fun and the challenge. An online group works well if you can’t find a group you like locally.
Get the advice and support you need, right from parents who’ve been through it all themselves.
New babies are always fun and twins and triplets doubly and triply so. Enjoy your “instant family” by taking it slow and savoring every moment!
© 2013, Patricia Nan Anderson. All rights reserved.