How to deal with double trouble...
Being told you’re having twins often comes as a complete and utter shock. Elation can be mixed with desperation and even horror. But above all is the recurring thought: how will I manage? Here, the Supernanny team offers advice on how best to deal with double trouble.
You’re pregnant with twins. Congratulations! But while you may be thrilled at the thought of those two lives growing inside you, you’re sure to have worries too. It may be the physical aspects – what’s going to happen to your body? Or the practical - how will you afford two of everything? But it’s after the babies arrive that the fun really starts…
Top tips for managing
1. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to get as much help as you possibly can. Twins are an awful lot of work, and you will need support.
“Don’t turn down any offers,” says Debbie Ross, from TAMBA (the Twins and Multiple Birth Association). “Get yourself organised with family and friends.”
If possible try and get some time away from the babies each week.
2. Meet others in the same boat
Unfortunately twins don’t always sleep at the same time, but they can both be frustrated, colicky or need their nappies changed at exactly the same moment. It’s easy to get stressed about all this, and it’s vital to remember that you’re not alone. One way to do this is to join your local twins group. There you won’t be centre of attention, and everyone will understand your situation. There is also a whole community of support online.
3. Don’t beat yourself up
“You will want to give both children attention, and also make sure you don’t ignore any other children you have,” says Debbie Ross. “However, there are never enough hours in the day. You can’t be in two or three places at the same time, so just try your best.” In other words, don’t feel guilty about it.
4. Get organised – a routine works
Having twins can introduce you to a world of chaos. When each day is full of feeding, changing nappies, and winding, it’s easy to get disheartened. A routine can help make sense of it all.
5. Be prepared to use discipline – but it may be different with twins
For example, if you send one child to the naughty step, the other may go off and entertain him while he’s there. They may also comfort each other. Because of this, you need to think of different solutions. Rewarding good behaviour, rather than punishing bad is a good tactic to try.
Sticker or reward charts are another great idea, and can even be used to instil an element of competition as the children grow older. For example, point out to one that the other has two more stickers than he has, and say that he will catch up if he helps clear up the toys.
6. Treat the children as individuals
Twins are not a unit, although they may sometimes act like they are. If one is naughty, you have to be careful not to punish both of them (by switching off the television, for example). Similarly if one does something particularly well, make sure you praise him individually.
And always remember, the twins are your children, and they love you. And you know what, despite the hard work, you love them too!