Monkey Time: Alone Time at Its Best

monkeyI wanted to share one father’s enthusiastic endorsement of the benefits of alone time—time when one twin gets one-on-one parental attention. He shared his story with a group of parents I spoke to in San Francisco, prefacing his remarks by apologizing that he did not learn about one-on-one time from my book Emotionally Healthy Twins!

He and his wife and their fraternal twin daughters coined the term “monkey time” to initiate time alone when the girls were toddlers.

The father emphatically declared that the alone time agenda must be formulated on the twins’ terms. He cautioned that parents cannot be on the phone or doing chores during the one-on-one time. He emphasized that the activity during this time is designated specifically by the twin’s request—whatever it may be (within reason). When his daughters were younger, monkey time consisted of running around the bedroom with each daughter for about twenty minutes. He and his wife took turns being with each of the girls. Often monkey time would be the routine when Mom and Dad returned home from work. The separate playtime helped everyone transition into dinnertime and nighttime.

This dad concurred with my stipulation that committing to alone time is crucial. In whatever form it takes, the practice needs to be consistent and expectable. He and his wife feel that keeping within these parameters has significantly reduced sibling tension. Their daughters are now six years old, and alone time remains an important part of their family’s routine and something that everyone enjoys.

How have you incorporated alone time in your family? Please share your stories in the comment section.


Photo credit: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

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