Parenting Twins: Why Spending One-on-One Time is SO Important!

I’ve never been pregnant with a single baby, and when I brought my first set of twin babies home from the hospital, we doubled from a couple to a family of four.  Because I was blessed with two babies from the start, I only knew how to care for two. I changed two diapers, breast fed two at a time, bathed one after the other, and often held them together or carried one in a sling or snuggly while I pulsed the bouncey seat, which held my second baby, with my foot. In the beginning, I found myself thinking about my daughters as a collective, a couple, a duo, a pair. What was done with or to one was done to the other. Although I’d noticed the differences between them immediately after birth, once we were all home from the hospital, I began to notice the subtle (and not so subtle) differences in their moods, temperament, cries, likes and dislikes. Sometimes, one would awaken while the other slept. While waking the other to feed both made sense, and would certainly save time, I sometimes took these opportunities to get acquainted, one-on-one with that particular sleepless little punkin. We stayed a family of four for over four years, and although my two girls and I were inseparable each day, my husband and I often took turns spending alone time with each of our daughters on the weekends. This focused together time benefited both my daughter and me. It allowed us to further bond, make cherished memories shared by only the two of us, and it allowed me to spoil this one child with an ice cream cone, a mommy-daughter lunch, or a trip to shop for something that she alone wanted or needed. When our second set of twins arrived, spending one-on-one time with our older children became all the more important, as it was again when our third set, our baby boys, were born. When our older girls became little women (only one week apart from the other … really) I took each daughter, one at a time, out for a Women’s Day” (an idea I got from an episode of The Cosby Show) … a day that began with special restaurant breakfast, a trip to the mall to shop and get her ears pieced, a chick flick movie complete with popcorn and candy, more shopping, and then a quiet celebratory dinner … all of which was to celebrate this rite of passage and to welcome her into the world of womanhood. One on one time between father and son is equally important. Bruce will often bond with our son (the male twin of our second b/g set) by taking him to the batting cage at the park, the driving range at a nearby golf course, and other male-bonding activities which could also include taking a hike in the woods or just enjoying a pizza while watching a football game together! Not that the importance of spending one-on-one time with our children is any new idea, but as parents of twins, I believe it’s all the more important. It allows the child to separate from his twin and be treated as a single, important, valued individual. As the parents of twins, this one-on-one time also allows us to see, listen to, and absorb all that makes up this one special, unique individual that is our child, not just one half of a pair. For another resource on the importance of spending time with individual children, please visit Families.com, an excellent source on parenting and families today.

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