Finding time to be alone with your twins separately can seem impossible. In fact we are told you must do everything simultaneously and keep them on the same schedule to help keep your sanity! This is true, however, there are opportunities to have special time individually if we look hard enough. Here are some tips you could try:
Newborn to age 1
If you bottle feed, whether it’s formula or pumped breast milk, this gives you a great opportunity to take a break from the simultaneous feedings. If your partner is not available, then enlist help from a friend or grandparent. People love babies and usually are more than happy to feed one while you feed the other. You can take extra time to look over their sweet faces, count their little toes and fall in love over and over. If you are breast feeding, you can breast feed one child while the other gets a bottle from your partner, that way you both get to experience the bonding individually.
Bath time is the perfect chance to have few minutes of individual time and I believe is the safest way until the babies get bigger. At this age they still cannot sit up well so bathing individually is a must. If your partner is there they can take the other baby while you are bathing one. Then after the washing you can hand them off to get dried, dressed and diapered while you wash the next. If you are solo, put them in a bouncy chair with a few visual toys or music to entertain them while you tend to the other. Take extra time to make it a fun and relaxing experience with each one.
I sung to my babies before bed each night although off key! Each had their own, different song I would sing to them. My hope was that as they grow they would associate that specific song to our mom-child special bond. They love that they have their own mommy song now that they are older.
Asking Grandma or others to watch two toddler twins can be pushing your luck. Instead ask them to watch one while you take the other. This way a trip to the park can be safer and fun. Shopping can be more efficient and letting them put the fruit in that bag without the worry that the other one will throw a tantrum can make it more enjoyable. It’s amazing how much more fun your little people are when they get that special time and it will often cross over into the days to come. We often would split the twins and I would take one to the grocery and my husband would take the other to Home Depot. This was a great way to get errands done and some time apart. But still get to do the fun family outing to the zoo or park all together.
If one of your twins decides to stop napping before the other or wakes up early, take this time to spend with just them. One of mine needed less sleep and gave up his naps sooner. I still enjoy those precious moments I got to spend with just him.
Separate Shopping trips still work well at this older age. So give one to Dad to run his errands with and you take the other. To keep them more interested at this age you can give them the list to find the items to put in cart. This again is so much easier than having arguments over who gets to pick the apples.
In this age group homework and reading makes an appearance. You can have one do their reading/homework while you play a board game with the other. Then switch! This gives each kid a chance to play just with you, which mine love. Then as a reward for completing their work you can all play a game together.
At this point your twins might have firm ideas of things they like and don’t like. If one enjoys running or playing catch, take time to that with them. If one has found a liking to art or drawing, sit down and do that with them. Sharing in the activities that they enjoy can be a great way to support them individually.
Your twins will likely now be involved in sports and activities. Maybe allowing them to be on different teams or in different sports will help them feel unique in the family. If they are in separate activities, support them in that choice. Parents can trade off which kid to watch in their chosen activity if there are overlapping events.
Although we have not reached this age yet, a trip with just one child separately would be a fun and lifelong memory. Maybe letting them choose a place they want to visit (within reason) on their 16th or 18th birthday would be fun! Take one, then the other to their desired destination. This could just be a weekend trip or a backpacking excursion or maybe a trip out of the county!
Each child creating memories of just them with their parents is an important thing, which comes easier with different aged children. As twins they are lucky to have their amazing and unique bond and we are lucky enough to watch it grow but an individual bond with each parent is an important piece to a happy and healthy childhood. When our twins start fighting a lot, we have found some individual time can work miracles! As with everything with twins, give yourself grace and don’t stress over it, as some days or weeks may go by before you get the opportunity to steal a bit of separate time, but the important part is that you take it when you can!
About the author
Cristy Hamilton is TLC’s Denver Associate and mother of fraternal twin boys named Liam and Tyler. She grew up in Colorado most of her life. Cristy enjoys working part time in a fulfilling career as a family nurse practitioner in a clinic setting. She received both her bachelors and masters degrees in nursing from the University of Colorado and holds a board certification by the AANP. Cristy has always had a calling to help people. After joining her local twins club and surviving the first year of twins, she started working with the new twin moms and loves helping them find their way through this amazing experience. You can reach Cristy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our Denver services.