Guest Author - Julixa Newman
I can not count how many times I have bumped into a fellow mother of multiples, and wound up in complete shock when I hear that their twins have such a tight bond. They never fight, they always share, and they won't even sleep apart! You see, my twins are a whole different story; and I can't help but wonder sometimes, was I doing something wrong? Should I have made them sleep together as newborns? Was I so worried about treating them as individuals that I inadvertently took the “twin bond” away from them? Was I the only one in this situation or were there others? I decided to do some research and found that I was not alone. Many parents of multiples were frustrated by the same thing. They even referred to themselves as full time referees! At that moment I decided that I was going to make some changes. I had to start as soon as possible because my twins were already toddlers. This is what worked for me and several other parents of multiples:
It doesn't matter if you put them in the same crib or not as newborns. That bond will not be nurtured during sleeping hours. However, make sure that they see and feel each other during play time as babies. Many parents reported that they would often find their babies just gazing at each other. Eye contact is a very important part of the bonding process during the first weeks of life.
I have found that one of the easiest ways to help them learn to play together as toddlers is during bath time. There seems to be something very soothing about playing in the water. Filling the tub with toys and asking one to share with the other will teach them that the toys are for the both of them. When one hands a toy to the other make sure you have other child say thank you and do the same.
Another great interaction tool involves changing up the routine when giving out snacks and sippy cups. Instead of handing over a treat to each child, ask Baby A to
give one to Baby B and vice versa. I did this a handful of times and then noticed that Baby A would ask me for Baby B's cup before her own. I knew at that point that it was working!
Teach them how to hug. This might sound silly but ask Baby A every so often to be “nice” to Baby B by giving him/her a hug. Make sure that this is not done after an argument. A random act of kindness will teach them that hugs are not just for when you are making up.
Taking these small steps will help your twins build a more loving and caring relationship. You might also want to practice these tips with older siblings that you feel have not bonded with the twins in the way you expected. At the very least, you are teaching them to respect each other, and possibly to put the needs of others ahead of their own.