Alone time with twins

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Every time I meet adult twins, it seems they always want to give me advice on how to best parent my 22-month-old identical boys.  I don’t necessarily mind receiving these little tidbits, but it sure would be nice if they all agreed with each other!  I hear things like, “Let them be their own people!” and “Don’t dress them alike!” and “Spend time alone with each of them!”  This all makes sense to me.  But, then I also hear, “Don’t force them to be separate!”  So, what is a well-meaning parent of twins to do?  How do I not screw up my kids?  (Ok, how do I TRY not to screw up my kids?)

I have to admit that my boys do NOT get a lot of alone time with my husband or I.  I had a great plan that we would spend an hour alone with each baby at least once a month, but even that small goal didn’t happen.  The problem is, like many working parents, we don’t get a lot of family time – so when we have a free weekend, we want to spend it all together.  I can count on my two hands the number of times my boys have gone somewhere alone with mom or dad.  When I think about how much “alone time” a singleton (first born at least) gets with his/her parents, it makes me sad that my kids haven’t had that.  It makes me worry about their identity development – growing up to perceive themselves as only a part of a unit, rather than as a whole person on his own.  It makes me wonder if this is why their speech is a bit delayed – because for the majority of the time we talk to the both of them rather than one by himself, and because they communicate so well nonverbally with each other.  Also, someone told me once that something like 40% of language that multiples hear is directive – like “No, don’t climb on that couch!” or “Leave the dog alone, it’s bath time!”

Of course, the boys love each other, and love being together.  For the most part, they giggle and laugh and chase and wrestle together to their hearts’ content.  It is not uncommon for us to see them holding hands while riding in their stroller, or to check on them at night and find them snuggled together in one bed.  Asher always brings his brother his favorite stuffed animal, particularly when he is sad.  Felix always grabs two pairs of shoes when we are getting ready to leave the house.  Even with other peers, they have wonderful social skills for toddlers – they wait their turn, they share their toys, and they don’t grab toys from others.  Would this be the case if they were singletons?  I don’t know.  I just know it makes my heart happy to see these things.  And hey – we’re all doing the best we can, right?

How about you other moms of multiples, or even moms of more than one kiddo?  How much alone time do you give to your kids?

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10 thoughts on “Alone time with twins”

  1. We had high hopes of alone time….. I even bought a single stroller to take out just one boy. Never used it. However, last week we split up to go for lunch. I took C for pancakes, and S got BBQ with his dad. Tehn we switched. They are 13 months now and that was the first time we did it!

  2. I agree that alone time is important, but we have a hard time making it happen. Usually my husband and I try to split up when we run errands and each take one of our boys. Home Depot isn’t exactly quality time, but it’s nice to bond with each of our sons individually.
    bea. recently posted life with toddlers x2My Profile

  3. Our girls are 2 1/2-years old, and most of our “dates” have been a handful of trips to the doctor’s office…not a whole lotta fun. I finally decided to start looking for one-on-one time opportunities during our everyday routine. Namely, whereas I used to bathe the girls together, I started bathing them separately. While I’m upstairs with A, Baby B has time to play with Daddy…and then we switch. It’s not much…but I think it’s a nice start.
    MandyE recently posted Mama Loves: Standing the Test of TimeMy Profile

  4. Our 3 year old b/g twins don’t want us to spend alone time. Every time my wife or I tries to just take one out with us the other clamors to go too.

  5. We will sometimes split the kids up on the weekend. One will go with Daddy for a haircut, another will come with me to the store, or whatever. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal. The kids like the extra attention, and I like reveling in how much easier it is to do things with just one kid.

    I will say that the first time we did it (the kids were young toddlers), they were kind of upset and constantly asking where the other kid was. But once or twice more and they thought it was great.

    Just take the opportunities as they present themselves. If it’s a Saturday and one of you needs to go to the garden shop, take one kid. My kids especially love the added treat of riding in daddy’s car… we got an extra carseat just for these kinds of outings.

  6. We have the same ‘problem’ of not spending that much alone time with any of the kids. Daddy has a rotating ‘schedule’ that he takes kids on out and I think it’s awesome, often it’s just a walk around the block or trip to home depot. The kids love it and they know who’s turn it is every time!
    I very seldom get to leave the house w/o all of them (singleton + twins) but I try have them help me with various chores at home. One gets to do laundry while the other might help me with unloading the dishwasher while the third gets to make food with me. I also brush their teeth one at a time and use that opportunity to ‘whisper sweet things’ to their ears.

  7. We only have one car that this kids can go in, so splitting up is a little harder to do, unless someone stays home.

    What has worked for us is bathing them separately. One gets 10 minutes of play time with dad, and 10 minutes with me and then we switch. It’s not perfect, but it does give us daily one-on-one. I do think we need to do more, it’s a goal of mine.
    Bekki recently posted PJs, Beaches and PlaygroundsMy Profile

  8. My girls enjoy going on quick errands with us. We do our best to take one, even if it’s just to run to Home Depot or the post office. The time in the car can be fun because I’ll use that time to ask questions (namely “What’s your favorite…”). We used to let one girl stay up late with us every Saturday, but that got to be just too much and led to one cranky girl every Sunday.
    Quadmama recently posted Our Grocery GameMy Profile

  9. When my b/g twins were very little, I would get so overwhelmed taking them both with me while doing errands. If I left them home, my husband would feel very overwhelmed. We both kept saying it would be easier if we only had to manage one child. Then one day it hit me, take one child with me and leave one child home. The twins were about 5 or 6 months old at the time and we’ve been doing that ever since. So any time there are errands to run, one child gets to go with Mommy and one stays home with Daddy and the next time I head out we switch. I also have never figured out the logistics of safely giving both kids a bath at the same time, or more accurately getting them out of the bathtub and into their bedroom safely. So bathtime is also one-on-one time, Mommy gives one a bath while Daddy does story time and then we switch. While running errands and bathtime isn’t the best quality time, I count every little bit I get.

  10. I’m a multiple so maybe you don’t want to hear from me. :) I’m a triplet (all girls), with a younger sibling and I have almost 3 year old B/G twins who have a younger sister (14 months). We, like Goddess, often do errands on weekends with a kid or two, splitting them up. My son (one of the twins) has been forcing a separate bedtime (the girls sleep together). Overall, I try not to compare them in front of each other (my mom was good at that), don’t worry if I dress them the same and tell them to respect one another and be good siblings. Ask me in 16 years if it worked!
    Mommy, Esq. recently posted Relinquishing My RoleMy Profile

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