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Tip for Twin Sanity: Alternating Days

Sorry ’bout the blog silence. I got clobbered by a stomach virus night before last — on top of a cold — and spent yesterday feeling half dead. Today I feel only one quarter dead. I’m just praying that the girls and Alastair won’t get sick, too. At least not before I recover, that is.

Moving on. As long-time readers here know, I generally don’t like to dole out a whole lot of advice about parenting twins, seeing as I am in no way qualified to do so. Well, maybe a little qualified. But it’s not really my thing. I’d rather get my advice from you, in the comments section, and report back on its success — as I’m doing here.

A while back I posted about issues we were having with sharing and being “fair” with the girls and several commenters (specifically Donna, Jennifer, Heather and Nutterbutter) told me their genius — genius, I tell you! — technique of having alternating days, where one twin gets to go first or pick what game to play or what snack to have, etc.

This has really been a life saver for us, and I heartily recommend it for anyone with toddler / preschool twins. Every other day belongs to one kid.  So whoever’s day it is gets to go first — whether it’s for less desirable activities, like getting dressed or brushing teeth (the horror!) or more fun stuff, like picking out their frozen waffle (woo hoo!!) or having their bedtime story read. The twin of the day also gets their choice of things like where in the car to sit, which TV show to watch and the like.

Having it be your day is a HUGE deal. The girls talk about it constantly, and pretty much the first thing they say (and by “say” I mean “holler”) when they bound into our room in the morning is “Is it my first day?” Sometimes they remember whose day is whose. Other times they don’t. I’ve taken to writing it out on the calendar in the kitchen because my short-term memory was apparently expelled in the delivery room along with the children.

There are times when the girls try to overstep a little. Like thinking that they get to decide what’s for dinner when it’s their first day, or that they aren’t required to share. Having it be your day may mean that you get to use a certain toy first, but not that you get to use it exclusively. I mean, jeez.

On the whole, they are amazingly responsive to the system. Even when they are disappointed or upset about something they don’t get or can’t do because it’s their day, they don’t dig in and tantrum. They respect the power of the rule, even if it bums them out.

Now, if only we could get them to respect other rules. Like, oh, say, I don’t know. Not clobbering your sister unprovoked?

Any other sanity-savers out there for taming twin (or sibling in general) rivalry and discord? And — extra credit — how could these be parlayed into a solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict?

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