How to Handle Fighting Twins

For some time I’ve been wondering whether I am the only twin parent who has to handle seemingly never-ending squabbles between my boy and girl twins.

It started pretty early. I cannot say exactly when, but it started with tandem breastfeeding, then feeding bottles, and now at 2, it’s almost everything!

From what I’ve gathered from other multiple parents, this seems to be a common problem. While most twins get along, there are always those moments of tension when they are mad at each other and pretty much ready to tear each other’s hair apart.

Twins fights can get intense and as a parent, it is best to always look out for them and to take appropriate action before it gets worse.

Fighting twins. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donnieray/14835028880

Why the Fights?

You will notice, just like other siblings, twins fight for the most obscure reasons. It could be a toy that they both love, over being pushed and in most cases over a parent’s attention.

The fights start early when they are toddlers and can go on as they grow.

How they fight varies. It could be through pushing, biting, scratching, pulling each other and even throwing things at each other.

According to experts sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up, especially amongst younger children, but it goes down with age as they learn to communicate better and negotiate for what they want. However, sibling aggression can cross the line and parents should address this by seeking help.

There are various strategies that can be used to manage conflict. But it is important to note that what may work in one family or situation may not work in another.

How to Handle Fighting Twins

When a fight happens, the first instinct as a parent is to ensure that none of the children is hurt. On dealing with the squabbles, it is important that you remain neutral at all times. This is because you do not want one twin thinking that they can easily get away with whatever they want, or the other thinking that you never support them.

While each situation is unique, here are some general rules that you can follow.

Acknowledge Their Feelings

As toddlers twins fight out of frustration as they are not able to communicate their feelings appropriately. This changes as they grow and continue to grasp their use of language.

When the siblings fight, it is best to acknowledge both of their feelings.

Condemn the bad behaviour but not the child.

Help the twins calm down and if they are able to speak for themselves, let them communicate their behaviour and once they are done, discuss alternative reactions they would have taken.

For example, if they were fighting over a toy, let them know the values of sharing, or kindly requesting for something as opposed to simply grabbing things from each other.

Remember to be fair. Showing favoritism may only lead to the aggravation of bad behaviour.

Get Rid of the Triggers

If the cause of the fights is something that you can easily get rid of then do it. You may be aware of toys that could lead to fights. Ensure that you are watching over them when they are around such items so that they are able to share. If there are no changes, you might want to hold on to specific items until they understand that you are withholding them because of their inability to share and solve their differences amicably.

Alternatively, get distinct toys from stores such as Toy Shaven 254 which offer a wide array of unique gifts.

If they keep fighting over each other’s items then colour coding or labeling the items that each twin loves could also be a way around it. Ultimately, they will outgrow such  and will soon learn how to share.

Warn Them of the Consequences

Sometimes when kids hit each other or bite each other, they are unaware of what could happen if one gets hurt. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach them the consequences of such actions, which mostly are spurred by anger.

Teach them from a young age that there is a cause and effect for every action. Deep down, twins have a connection and are not willing to see the other hurt. They will know when they’ve gone overboard.

Another way to warn twins is to let them know that you won’t always be available to solve their problems and that they have to be able to solve their own conflicts.

Be Calm

Children learn from imitating their role models. And who best be a role model than their parents? In the midst of all their turmoil, while you feel like you want to kick them out, try as much as possible to remain calm. Shouting or yelling at them may only worsen the situation. Teach them to resolve their situations by stepping out for a moment and letting them be on their own. Soon enough they will learn.

Take Them Out for a While

One of the best ways that I’ve realized actually works for my toddlers is embracing the outdoors. Once we step into a new environment they are good as new. What I love about the outdoors is that it presents so many positive distractions that help them get rid of all the negative energy. They are able to calm down and focus on other things such as enjoying nature or playing with their friends. By the time we step back to the house, they have gotten rid of all the excess energy and their mood is at another level of good.

Set Expectations

There is a need to set expectations between twin siblings as a way to cope with rivalry. Let them know that as parents, you expect them to treat their siblings with respect. While it sounds easy, you are going to have to be a role model. Avoid fighting with others in front of your kids.

Sibling rivalry is mostly a normal part of growing up.  As a parent, act as a mediator when necessary but let your twins learn to resolve their differences. Do not forget to be fair at all times.

Potty Training Twins: Are You Ready for the Toilet Training Headache?

Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/Vk1Huc76WR6j21CU6

My twins recently turned 2 and well, we’ve been working on potty training. The girl seems to have caught it on early but, I am still struggling with the boy, and sometimes, he derails the learning process for the girl too.

Are your twins approaching the two-year mark and you’re wondering how to potty train your twins? Well, you are not alone.

Many twin parents are thrilled at the idea of ditching the diapers. They really yearn to see the day when they can send their young ones to do their business. However, potty training is not as easy as it sounds. You may be used to the double trouble alright, but nobody prepares you for the potty training headache. It also gets more difficult potty training boy/girl twins. In most cases, girls will be earlier than boys.

The big question however remains, when should you even start to try?

According to experts, potty training shouldn’t be anchored entirely on age. It mainly depends on the individual child’s physical, developmental, and behavior milestones. All kids are not ready for potty training at the same time and by forcing them to use the potty before the time is right, you are only setting yourself up for frustration.

There are several signs that will show when they are ready for potty training.

You’re changing fewer diapers than before

They are able to communicate when they want to go.

They attempt to remove their dirty diapers.

They are genuinely interested when you use the toilet.

They can pull down their pants and pull them up.

Generally, it is safe to start potty training at the age of 2. Some kids may show signs that they are ready as early as 18 months. Some may not be ready until they are about 3 years old.  In the case of twins, it is also important to check for readiness of the individual twin.

Useful Tips on Potty Training Twins

Time It Right

If your twins are not ready to train, you will definitely encounter challenges, and this will only lead to frustration on your part. Examine your twins for signs of readiness before embarking on toilet training.

Prepare your twins for potty training way in advance by involving them in shopping for the potties or underwear, or reading children’s books on potty training or even having a small chit chat on hygiene.

Bring in the Potties

There are different kinds of potties, but for a start I’d vouch for the floor potties. These are easily portable and can be placed wherever the twins are comfortable or a room where they spend most of their time. They will also save you the trouble of potty accidents. No need running to the bathroom, real accidents could actually happen. Additionally, the kids will feel more comfortable as their feet are on the ground and not dangling on the toilet seat. With time you can easily transition to the main toilet.

Mind Your Language

Using the potty is all new to your twins. While it has been an anticipated milestone, there is bound to be a few accidents here and there.  When potty training your twins, it is important to create a positive environment. Praise their efforts when they tell you they have to go, or when they do it right.

Do not condemn them when in some cases they tell you that they soiled on their pants. They already know they failed by the time they are telling you. How you react will have an impact on them.

There is also a tendency to compare twins’ milestones. Please do not do this when potty training. In some cases, a twin will pick up potty training faster than the other and that is okay. Remember, as much as they may be twins, they are different individuals. Give them time and they will catch up faster than you thought.

Stick to a Similar Schedule

As a twin parent, you understand the importance of establishing a routine. From similar meal times to sleep patterns a structured routine will save you a heck of trouble, and the same case applies for a schedule for potty training!

Have them sit on the potty every two hours. You can relax and distract your child by having toys they love around or playing a game that they love.

Take them to the potty immediately before and after sleeping. Also, make it a habit to let them sit on the potty 30-45 minutes after a meal.

Dress up for Success

Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/98b9o9EAU3GfHz2a8

Many parents prefer potty training in the warmer season when the kids are not overdressed and they can easily be able to get on with it. 

Encourage your twins to feel more confident by dressing them for success during potty training. Avoid clothes that have long zippers or a line of buttons. Instead, try underwear; pull up pants, or even pretty little skirts for the girls.  Dressing them up in these easy access clothing will also save you from tantrums that result from frustration.

Offer Gifts and Rewards

Toddlers love gifts. This can work for you during potty training. However, we also know that twins can get very competitive, and you ought to be careful when giving rewards. Depending on your twins, giving rewards could lead to the development of some ugly scenes, when they both want to be rewarded and only one deserves it. When handing out incentives, make it extremely clear why you’re giving it to one twin and not the other.

Be Ready for the Mess

As much as we may want the potty training process to be smooth, it is important to accept that there will be a mess to clean up sometimes. In the case of twins, best accept that there may just be a double mess!

Be ready for such eventualities by stocking up on the right cleaning supplies and remaining positive. This phase will pass.

There is one more thing that you are going to need – Patience!

Just like any other twin milestone, toilet training will not be smooth sailing! Be calm as you teach your child how to use the bathroom. No matter how long it takes, sooner or later, your twins will soon learn how to do it on their own!

Tips: Making it through the first year with twins

My twin babies turned a year! I am thrilled. I am grateful. I am excited about the future and looking forward to the journey ahead. Many have asked how the year has been, how we made it through and to be quite honest, on many instances, I do not know what to say, other than God has been gracious!

My Twins Birthday Cake(First Year)

 Raising multiples is tough, but what we forget mostly is that it is also quite an amazing journey. YES! Despite all the upheavals, motherhood is a beautiful journey! And how more beautiful it is watching your twins, or triplets, play, laugh, learn together. Sometimes they will fight for toys or something, but just the sheer joy of watching them grow together is priceless!

So for those expecting multiples, or those who are already walking the journey, here are some tips on how we made it through this far.

Take a day at a time

Anxiety sets in as soon as you find out that you are carrying multiples. This happened to me. I was anxious from the moment when the doctors announced that we were going to be having twins. I wondered – how would I carry them?  How would I breastfeed?  How many cots would we need? Would I ever sleep at night? I worried about so many things some of which I learnt did not even matter.  I continued worrying even after the twins were born. I totally haven’t gotten rid of all anxiety to date. Can you really? I still worry when one gets sick, because I know the other might fall sick as well. I worry about being separated from them. I actually think about them a lot when I am away. I wonder about whether I am being the greatest mum, and if I am doing my best.

One thing that I have learnt through the year is to take a day at time. There are days when they have slept through the night, and days when they’ve woken up to what feels like a thousand times. Taking a day at a time has been my remedy.  Expect no two days to be the same. Give your best each day and hope for the best.

Keep the babies on one schedule

A mum holding their child, displaying their feet

The sooner you create a routine, the better it will be for everyone involved in raising the multiples.  With time the babies also get to understand that there is an order to things. They can predict that it is bath time, sleeping time, feeding time or even nap time.

It will not always go perfectly and will obviously take some time, but once there is a schedule, your days will be way better than they were with nothing to sort of give a sense of direction.

Accept Help

Raising multiples can be overwhelming.  You cannot do it alone. Accept all the help that comes your way and especially during the first months, while you may also be healing post pregnancy. Work as a team with your partner. If he offers to pick up the groceries, cook, change diapers, bath the twins or even stay with them while you take that well deserved break accept it!

Family and friends also come in handy during this time. So long as you are comfortable with the people around you let them help you. It may not be in directly taking care of the babies, it could be in taking care of other duties.

Make time for yourself

As much as the kids’ welfare is key, your health and sanity is also important. Take a break, you deserve it. Keep post partum depression at bay by taking a break from the babies and all the new responsibilities that you have. If your partner is supportive enough, let him keep watch of the babies as other people such as the nanny, family or friends take over from you. Take those long walks, exercise, go to the mall and enjoy yourself for a little bit.

Being a multiple mum can take a toll on you. Getting out and even talking to people helps a lot in understanding that you are not in this alone and that whatever you face, there is always a way out.

Personally, going out to art events, meeting friends, and going to church even just to pray has kept me grounded.

Don’t be too hard on yourself – accept mistakes

No matter how much you are prepared to be a mum there will always be things that you had not anticipated that will happen.  When something goes wrong, do not be too harsh on yourself. Do not blame yourself.  Just learn from the mistakes, accept them and move on.

Finally, there is really no guide to making it through. Trusting in God and doing my best each day has done it for me.

Establishing a Twins’ Sleep Pattern

“How do you sleep?” or “When was the last time you had a good night of sleep?” This is a question I often encounter as a twin mum. And to be honest, it sort of irks me as much as it might be coming from a good place. For a long time I was anxious about becoming a parent.  I was afraid of losing my sleep.

The thought of a crying baby keeping me awake all night was nerve wrecking. Little did I know what awaited me. My twins came at exactly 37 weeks and I must say it was both a relief as much as it was nerve wrecking.

We had obviously prepared for everything that we would need way in advance, but nobody had really prepared us for the journey that lay ahead.

My twins in their first week of life

Being home the first week after birth was comforting. I had a support system and did not have to worry about what to eat or who had prepared it. Family also tried their part ensuring that I took all the drugs that I still needed, and that I ate healthy food and got enough rest while at it.

Still, there were those moments, being alone with two infants that both needed my attention.  The sound of crying babies was new to us; there were diapers to be changed, baths to be taken and so many things to be taken care of, mostly by me.

I am grateful for my husband who remained present during such moments However; he still could not know everything that was going on in my mind. And there was breastfeeding, and the interrupted sleep. It did not take long before I had a break down. Things got worse when we moved back into our house, with a domestic manager (a new addition to the home) and the babies, who by the way you come to accept, are also your extension and here to stay.

After a few months of struggle I realized that to get better sleep with a baby and particularly with twins, you have to establish a sleep pattern or a routine that you follow without fail.  Here are a few useful tips on how to get them to sleep better, meaning, more rest for you.

Feed them at the same time

Getting your twins to sleep at the same time is definitely a piece of work. However, if you feed them at the same time, they will most likely also drift off at the same time.

Nap them at the same time

I often do this during the day, and now that we have already established a routine, they also take naps around the same time.

Create a bed time routine

This has personally worked for me. Whenever we are home, I ensure that I bath the twins at 9 in the night, feed them and put them down to sleep.  This is one of the ways that they know it is bedtime. To add to this you can make a habit of playing some lullabies or reading from a story book just to ensure that they begin to understand that it is bed time. How do you put your babies or baby to sleep? Please do share any useful tips.

When They Start to Move

A Child Crawling

My twins recently turned nine months and I am thrilled, especially because I keep counting their age almost every day. With each passing day come changes, irreversible milestones that are both exciting and terrifying.  Think of that first time when they attempted to sit down at four months and wouldn’t stop tipping over, or that first time when they started rolling over.

Now at 9 months my twins won’t stop moving. They want to stand holding on to furniture or anything that may provide support for that matter, they want to reach out and grab everything, regardless of what it is. Most shocking though, they are no longer scared of getting off the bed during bath times. I still can’t wrap my head around how I found my daughter under the bed the other day, or how my son wound up standing on his own, holding on to his cot, all the while laughing at my sight.

As a first time mum all these changes can catch you by surprise. For this reason it is always important to be prepared, so as to avoid any accidents.

Here are a few ways to child proof your home.

Ensure Furniture will not fall and land on your toddler. You can move furniture around to give them more space.

When they start getting up on their hands it is time to remove those hanging toys in their crib. Also ensure that the crib is a distant from any windows or any other furniture that they might try to climb on. The drop side of crib should also be kept up and locked when you’re not in the room.

Baby Room

Avoid leaving your baby alone on beds, sofas, high chairs or anywhere else they could fall off. At this age, I find it safer putting them on the floor on a safe area prepared especially for them.

Make sure there are no chocking hazards around their space. Additionally, keep sharp objects and any breakables, or any other dangerous objects far from their reach.

Children love to explore. Keep electric appliances unplugged and out of reach. Install safe plates on electricity outlets. Conceal wires using wire guards and keep them away from any electric sources altogether.

If you have stairs in your house, it is probably time you started thinking of installing a safety gate at the top otherwise they might get off their bedroom and decide to wander down stairs. You should also control access to unsafe areas by investing in door locks or setting up safety gates.

Even if you feel like you’ve done a thorough job child proofing your home, you’ve probably missed one thing, and you can also not underestimate your child’s intelligence and understanding of things. Always ensure that either you or someone you trust is watching over your child.

Coping With the News of Expecting Twins

When my husband and I found out that I was pregnant, we were both thrilled at the news, having encountered a loss earlier on. A bundle of joy added into our lives would be such a pleasure.

The first time that I went for a scan was at 7 weeks and unfortunately, my partner wasn’t with me as he had to go to work but we had agreed that I needed a check up as soon as possible. What we did not know is the surprise that waited.

When the gynecologist at AAR Thika suggested a scan, I was a bit apprehensive. My husband was not here, and getting through it alone only revived memories that I wanted buried, having undergone a scan after the loss.

When they told me that I was carrying twins, I did not believe it. How could I? There was the memory of the loss so fresh, we had no history of twins in our family and there was no way this would happen. Tears welled up in my face as all these questions flowed through my mind.

Casting my doubts out aloud, the sonographer had no choice but to call the gynecologist in and he too, confirmed it.

I could not wait to tell my husband and so as soon as I was done, I gave him a call and gave him the news and I could tell from his voice that he too was surprised. He had once joked in the past that he would be a father of twins and to think that the dream was coming true was exhilarating.

Receiving the news that you are expecting multiples can be a time of mixed emotions; this is how to calm yourself down.

Speak to someone who understands your anxiety. Closest family members or friends are a good place to start.

Plan ahead. There is so much that you are going to need with the coming of the new visitors. Planning it all ahead and getting what you can in advance saves you lots of trouble last minute.

Get help and support. Besides family and friends there are other networks that are out there to support expectant mothers. For those expecting multiples perhaps its already time you joined Multiples Blessings a Facebook group that has helped a lot.

Read up on experiences; gain as much knowledge as you can. Also attend those Lamaze classes if you can. Nairobi Hospital has great ones. They will help you a lot.

Meet couples with babies or multiples if that’s what you are expecting. I am personally blessed to have two neighbours who have older twin boys. Watching them play gives me so much joy as I look forward to the future. Two of my friends also have twins and walking this journey with them has been one of my greatest gifts.