My favorite shirt says “twin mama plus one.” When my daughter was four-and-a-half-years-old, we welcomed twin boys into our family. I wouldn’t change a thing about how our family was completed, but overnight our lives went from manageable to chaos the moment we became outnumbered.
The plus one part of parenting multiples makes things a little more tricky. I thought I would share some of my survival tips for parenting multiples, plus an older sibling.
Survival tips for parenting multiples, plus one
- My number one trick is that I keep a double umbrella stroller in my car AT ALL TIMES! This purchase was worth every penny. I take all three of them places by myself all week, and we couldn’t survive without one. I put them in it everywhere we go, and I won’t take them out unless I am completely desperate. We go to the doctor’s office, and no matter how long the wait is, I keep them in there until we get into a room. If I didn’t, picture two-year-old boys climbing anything they can. Also, if I take them to the grocery store, I don’t even bother with trying to track down a double cart. I just find places in my stroller to put the food. When we go on walks in the neighborhood and stop to chat with neighbors, they stay strapped in the wagon; otherwise, I would be chasing them away from the alligator infested ponds! My six-year-old is also pretty good about either pushing the stroller for me, or walking close by.
- At this stage, I don’t take them to the park alone. Right now they think “no” is the funniest word they’ve ever heard. It definitely doesn’t stop them in their tracks, so unless my husband is with me to defend them one-on-one, it’s not worth the stress for me. Instead, we have a fenced in yard with age appropriate toys for all three kids, and we invite friends over to our house. I look forward to the day we can venture out without worrying about them walking off a platform or running in front of a swing, but at twenty-two months, that’s just not the case.
- We try to buy two of each of the toys they love, sometimes three if my daughter loves it too. My mom recently bought them three harmonicas, and they love them. If there were only one or two, I would be constantly breaking up fights. I know because we lost one for a little while, and Wrestlemania took place in our home until we found it. Of course, they will need to share at some point, but one less opportunity for our bully twin to take down his brother saves me some sanity!
- I try to make it a point to do one-on-one activities with my oldest. Her whole world was turned upside down when we brought two babies home, and she has taken it like a champ. Sometimes that adds more chaos to our schedule, but anything we can do to cheer her on in what she loves to do is so important. Also, having twins has made me appreciate the years we had when it was just the three of us. We wanted kids closer together in age, but since we got 2-for-1, I’m glad we had some extra alone time with her.
- My final trick that has really worked for our family is a pretty strict napping and bedtime schedule. We have kept the boys in the same room while napping and sleeping at the same time. If one screams, the other sleeps through it. Very rarely have we deviated from their nap and bedtime schedules, and this is what has kept us sane. We keep our oldest up about forty-five minutes later than her brothers to get some extra time with her.
These are the things that have worked the best for our family of five. It is still pretty non-stop crazy when all three are demanding something from you, but with some go-to tricks, we’ve made the chaos manageable.