Hacks for multiple, curious toddlers

I wrote this post long, long ago and have since found new ways to “round up” my twins. They had just started walking and were, what I thought, hard to manage. And, they were, but now poses much more dangerous and scary situations. Please post your own hacks for handling multiple toddlers in the comments. The more the merrier, please!

There are many challenges facing parents who are raising multiples, whether it be two or six. I must admit, many of those challenges have made me cry. But, now that we’re at a pretty fun, interesting age in our house, I look forward to finding new ways to step over and stomp on those challenges.

One of the biggest challenge we face right now is movement. Well, now that I think about it, movement has always been an obstacle. In the early days, I was too overwhelmed and too sleep deprived to be creative. The idea of lugging both infant carriers around was too much. Then they outgrew those and were still too limp to be carried at the same time, which is how we get places now. You should see my biceps.

My twins have been walking now for four months and are great walkers and are even running a bit now, too. Life is a breeze in comparison to the bottles and non-walking days.

But, this doesn’t mean we haven’t had our challenges. But, since they sleep through the night, and I’m pretty refreshed each morning, I have come up with some parent hacks to share with other POMs, should the need arise.

Hack No. 1

Climbing stairs with toddler multiples

This is not a simple feat. Spotting one child, alone, can be daunting. Spotting two who like to stop, turn around, try and grab wallpaper or the railing is enough to make the heart stop, twice. And, usually, in the middle of our Great Daily Climb, one or the other quits for whatever reason. So then I’m left carrying a baby, while spotting another. Save for a few slips, we haven’t encountered a baby avalanche, yet. That could be because early in the game, I discovered that if I threw something to the top of the stairs that they really wanted, they would climb steadfastly to get it. Of course, once at the top, grabbing said item can be tricky, and that’s when I toss it far away from the stairs so they have to get to safety without hesitation.

Hack No. 2

Getting to the car

I’m sure there are plenty of POMs who have garages attached to their home, which would make for a fairly easy trip to their family vehicle. This would not be us. We have a short walk through the yard and into our parking lot. Along the way is rose bushes, gardens filled with mulch, strands of grass, ants, and other great toddler distractions. Just when we think we are reaching the gate, both bolt in two different directions. At least they did, until I realized I had a little more power than I thought, even if they are only 17 months old. So, when we really need to get to the car, we hold hands and march. March, two, three, four. March, two, three, four. They love the motion of us all walking together and they have some control in being able to pick up their little meaty legs and pound them down on the walkway. In just seconds, they forget all about those pesky blades of grass they would have stopped to grab.

Hack No. 3

Getting in and out of vehicle in busy parking lots

This, I have to admit, is a new hack for me. Now that they are increasingly better walkers, they still aren’t old enough to understand to stay put. This is where our very cute teddy bear backpacks/leashes come in handy. While I remove one baby or return her to her car seat, I can keep my foot on the other’s leash. She could try to run away, but this method would stop her before she even takes a step. Granted, two or more babies in busy parking areas is not ideal in any situation, but sometimes putting both into the stroller is just not convenient, like for a quick doctor’s appointment. Besides, they have to learn to walk on their own eventually.

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IMG_2280, originally uploaded by sllydr.

8 thoughts on “Hacks for multiple, curious toddlers

  1. Great advice!

    We’ve started letting one boy climb onto the floor of the backseat while one is getting buckled in. Yes, the one on the floor sometimes get kicked in the head, but I keep a vast assortment of toys on the floor to entice them! The day care parking lot is very busy, so I feel most comfortable when they are both in the car.

    When getting out, the toys on the floor distract the one who is outside the car just long enough for me to unbuckle and unload #2.

  2. I am always interested on hearing about different ideas on how to keep twins under control. I feel like things are quite a bit easier for us now that my boys are 2.5, but of course, they are starting to hit that defiant stage, so we will see. Here are some tricks that I have used in the past…

    Getting to the car – Until recently, we had a car in a lot just like you. For a long time, whenever we left the house, I just insisted that the boys held my hands – parking lot, mall, wherever. That way, they couldn’t get away, and they were used to it. They never even question me on it, even now. Another thing that worked for us was to go on little adventures on the way to the car (or anywhere else). As long as it was safe for the boys to go by themselves, I would have them go touch different “landmarks” on the way to the car. “Go touch the rock on the sidewalk. Great! Now go touch that red flower.” It made life a lot easier, especially when my arms were full.

    Getting into the car – Once the boys were flying free, we walked to the car hand in hand, and then I made one of the boys hold on to the tire while I put the other one in his seat. I then put boy #2 in his seat and went back to buckle them both in. Now that they are older, more capable, and needing to be more independent with a little brother on the way, we all get into the car on the same side and take turns “going across.” One of my sons gets into the car and climbs across the car into the far seat. I hold the other son’s hand while he waits to climb in the car. Once they are in, I feel comfortable enough to throw my purse, etc., into the car and then buckle them in.

    Pajama fights – Maybe this happens across all multiples, or maybe it is just my boys. Inevitably, if I don’t pick out matching pajamas for them, the fellas both want one pair. To help combat this problem, I let one of the boys pick which shirt he wants and the other pick out the pants. Then, everyone got at least one thing that they wanted.

    Navigating the mall – Last winter, when the boys were right around 2, they wanted to walk free all of the time. However, they also liked to RUN free. In order to navigate in the mall, if they boys were out of the stroller, I insisted that they hold on to help me push. Anyone who didn’t hold on had to go back into his seat.

    Now, if anyone has any helpful hints for adding a third baby to a house with twins, I would love to hear them! :)

  3. Great advice! We also play “fetch” with our kids to get them upstairs. Another thing that works: playing “catch my hand”. I put my hand on the banister slightly ahead of theirs, and then they try to catch up to my hand, which I keep moving until we reach the top of the stairs and they are able to catch me (although now they’re older and sometimes catch me before we get to the top!)

    Like Laura, in a busy parking lot, I just toss both in the car before buckling in. We also have the doggie/monkey backpack/leashes, although my kids like to cuddle them more than wear them.

  4. This is great! I’m going to have to try that fetch thing on the stairs. Although, mine are at the age where they might push the other out of the way to get to the thrown thing first…hmmm.

    We used the monkey/doggie backpack leashes for a long time – they even still ask for them! – but I’ve recently noticed that they are *MUCH* better if I don’t use them. Burke will “push his boundaries” and pull and pull and pull on it (even when he’s the one who requested to wear it). Whereas if he’s helping me push Logan in his stroller he stays right by my side.

    When we put them in the car, they usually hold my hand while we walk to it and then I put ‘em both in and block the door with my body while putting one in their seat so the other can’t escape. I do the same when taking them out…the one on the far side gets released first and then blocked while the second one gets freed. They stand at the doorway until I can get out and then they hold my hands to walk wherever we may be going.

    With a third one in the mix – it’s gets a little tricky, but they’ve just reached the age where they’ll hold each OTHER’S hand…so I’ll hold Maggie’s hand and she’ll hold Burke’s while I’m carrying Logan. I get a little nervous about this one since I have no control over if they let go, but it’s worked on short trips so far…

  5. Great suggestions! I remember having read the marching thing when you first wrote it (and mine we’re walking), but forgot it. I will definitely have to try it.

    When I’m trying to get them moving down the sidewalk and they’re stopping to look at every last thing, we play step on Mama’s shadow. I basically keep moving, and they have to try to stomp on it.

  6. Excellent tips!! My girls are only 8 months now but I’ll definitely bookmark this page so that I am prepared when the time comes. btw I love, love, love this blog! I really look forward to reading each day. :)

  7. I find the more consistent I am the better. We always try to do the same things so that the kids will hopefully know what to do. I have used the stroller mostly and holding each other’s hands and one holding my hand when I had 3rd baby in tow.

    It’s always interesting! love this blog!!

  8. I wish these tricks worked for me. My 17month old boys see the outside world as an escape route. As soon as a door opens they bolt. I do put them both in the car and block the door until both are buckeled. They ALWAYS want to go in different directions. They also dont respond to commands, im wondering if this might be just a preemie (behind schedule) thing or maybe a hearing problem. Does anyone have suggestions for shopping with two babies with one regular shopping cart by made for single children?

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