This article, entitled "Managing Multiple: Advice for the Toddler Years," comes from Annie Payne, MomsEveryday blogger from Western Colorado.
The good news is that the toddler years are easier than the first two years. Your twins, triplets or more are mobile, they are feeding themselves, they are starting to communicate their wants and needs, and they are figuring out who everyone is in their life.
My first advice for this era is the same as my first advice for the first two years, sound redundant? It is; Routine, routine, routine! For your sanity and theirs try to do the same thing at the same time every day. This lets everyone know what to expect. What if your toddler doesn’t adhere well to routine? I would say to be flexible in your routine, but also don’t let one child throw the whole family train off the track. If he or she was a singleton, my advice would be different, but your multiple needs to understand they are part of a family program and at times that means, doing things when the family needs it to happen and not when lone toddler dictates it.
That leads us into the other topic of how to redirect a wayward toddler. One toddler dancing on the coffee table is cute. Two or more toddlers dancing on the coffee table can mean a trip to the emergency room. Keeping order is not being a stuffy mom, it is keeping kids safe. Learning to redirect your toddler’s behavior is essential. This is where you need to treat your multiple like the individual that they are. One child may be able to be redirected to better behavior by just a verbal warning, another may need incentives (aka bribery), and yet another may need to have a special item taken away. When it comes to redirecting their behavior don’t treat them like a package deal. Find out what kind of redirection works best for them.
The upside of having multiples is that you don’t have to worry finding an appropriate playmate. They have a built-in buddy! That being said, continue to make an effort to give your toddlers opportunities for socializing like park days and library visits. It’s easy to hunker down and just let your multiples entertain each other especially when our own energy has waned and it’s just easier to stay home, but we all know that learning to cooperate with people outside of our own family is a skill that needs to be developed with practice. Your multiples may or may not be together in school, learning to be a good friend and playmate is still important.
One-on-one time with you is also important, even if you are just leaving one twin at home with dad, while you and the other go to the store. Multiples have a tendency to bond with each other and leave the rest of the family out. That closeness is a great benefit of having a twin, but don’t be edged out either. Reinforce your bond with your child with one-on-one time. Encourage the special relationship your twins share, but take the time for just you and your child too.