3 is such a fun age! Since my twins turned 3, their understanding of the world they live in has grown in leaps and bounds. They now understand choices and consequences. They’ve also learnt to ask to be entertained; usually by me or the TV. I used to give in until one day I was too tired to oblige them. And that’s when I learnt parenting lesson #2-something:
Bored is good.
I find that when the girls ask to be entertained and I acknowledge their request but do nothing, a series of events occur:
Stage 1: Squabbles and arguments that I’m called upon to mediate. It’s hard but I maintain my non-interference (Stay Out of It like Rebecca wrote) as long as things don’t get physical. This is the stage where the twins are competing for my attention and trying to get me into entertainer-in-chief mood. I resist and this stage usually goes away after five minutes. If this stage goes on for too long, I make them stay on opposite sides of the room. The boredom soon takes them to stage 3.
Stage 2: Shocked silence and confusion (this rarely lasts more than a minute or two)
Stage 3: Co-operative, imaginative play starts. The girls start playing with each other and because they don’t want to lose their only playmate, they are nicer to each other. They take turns. They have conversations – one of my twins is visibly behind her sister in language development but when they are playing together, I see improvements in her language skills because she’s having to add to the story line and communicate with her sister. They let their imagination run wild – the play kitchen becomes a fort for a lost puppy to be rescued using a pair of binoculars as a lasso. Suddenly, we have puppies, dinosaur eggs, dragons and unicorns in the house.
And that’s why bored 3 year old twins can be a good thing waiting to happen. What starts out as moments of boredom ends up building imagination, language, social skills and creativity. That’s something worth turning off the TV for.
Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice. She blogs about the twinmom hustle at mytwintopia