Here are a couple more questions from my readers:
My newborn twins are easygoing, but my two-year-old still craves undivided attention. How do I give her the attention she needs and still find time for myself?
Caring for two newborns at the same time is a daunting task on its own, not to mention with the additional demands of other family members. The best thing to keep in mind is that you can only do your best, that this stage will not last forever, and that your older daughter will survive and thrive in spite of her feelings of loss and resentment about these two new intruders. Here are a few suggestions to help with your daughter’s attention-getting behaviors:
- Buy your daughter two baby dolls, a stroller, and a bath so that she can care for her babies while you are caring for yours.
- Find as many ways as possible to involve your daughter with the babies, allowing her to touch, hold, and be involved with them—under your supervision, of course.
- Enlist her help whenever possible. She can hand you wipes for diapering, soap for baths, and shake rattles for entertainment. She will enjoy being your “special helper.”
- Create a “nursing basket”—a container with a few toys or books for your daughter to use only when you are nursing. When you are done, put the basket away. Change the contents every week. It makes feeding time something to look forward to and eases the pain of not getting the undivided attention your daughter wants.
- Be ready to hand off the babies to an extra set of hands. Babies need love from almost anyone, and your daughter will need you.
It is vital to accept practical help from others. This will provide opportunities to spend time alone with your husband and also enable you to have some alone time for yourself. Being a mommy is incredibly depleting. We all must have strategies to refuel. A contented mom has more patience, tolerance, and energy, so taking care of yourself and your needs as best you can is primary.
How do you encourage language development in the “quiet” twin without discouraging her sister from talking and answering questions?
The challenge of finding enough time for language-building conversation with each of your children is not impossible. Think about the many times during the day you have contact with each child: helping with buttons, combing hair, washing hands, and serving meals. Ask questions and listen intently to the answers. Encourage your child to respond in sentences rather than asking a question that will fetch a yes or no answer.
Here are a few more suggestions:
- Resist responding to interrupters. Reward turn taking and patience. When one of the children interrupts, you can respond calmly by stating what you observe: “Sean, I hear you trying to talk. But Andrea is showing me her picture right now. Sean, when Andrea is finished, you’ll get your turn.”
- Make trips in the car a time to play with language—make up songs together, talk about yesterday and tomorrow, or make up silly rhymes.
- Encourage other adults to spend time talking with each child.
- Insist that each child speak for himself or herself. For example, if one child holds out a hand to reach for a cookie, you could say, “No cookie if you don’t ask.”
- Read to your children everyday, either individually or together. If they fight over who gets to sit on your lap, stop and work out a solution.
If you suspect a language delay problem, an assessment or an intervention by a speech therapist can be a great help for your twin and your peace of mind.
If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments section.
The image in the post is in the public domain courtesy of Nicolette.