When I was asked how we prepared to bring home our twin girls to an energetic and active five-year-old girl, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to provide a universally helpful answer. Every family and every household have different circumstances and different dynamics. However, I am confident that my experience is going to be relevant to quite a few expectant mama’s out there.
I had read plenty of blogs and books and even talked to other moms about preparing for the second (and third) child, but didn’t have a real strategy in place to help prepare our youngster for this transition. However, taking it a step at a time is a good way to handle this change.
Before their Arrival
Our daughter, Ava, was curious about my growing belly. While we explained that babies were inside, she didn’t really understand that she was about to get two little sisters.
We read her books about being a big sister, set out all the baby “stuff” several weeks before their expected arrival. We even invested in a small doll stroller for her to push her baby dolls in.
Surviving the Hospital
Hopefully, you will be lucky enough to have your twins come home right after the birth. However, there are some who spend quite a bit of time in the NICU. Unfortunately, if your new little ones have to spend time there, it may be difficult for their older sibling to get to know them.
The best thing you can do is take plenty of pictures and use video chatting apps to let your toddler “see” their new siblings. Even if they can go to the babies, it is important to include your older child in everything that goes on.
Regression is Often Inevitable
For five years our Ava was the baby and the center of attention. All of the sudden her sisters, Ella and Rose, were getting quite a bit of attention. The regression each child experiences is different, some revert to “baby talk” while others may just climb into the baby’s cribs or rockers (which is what Ava did).
The key to overcoming this regression is to keep a routine. After a few weeks, Ava was back to normal and being a “big girl” again, and most other moms have the same type of report.
One-on-One Time is a Must
Plan dates for you and your older child alone. This goes for both mom and dad. Do special things that the baby’s don’t get to go along on. This can help your toddler continue to feel special. Even if you aren’t able to leave the house, snuggle and read with your toddler while the babies are asleep, rather than doing the dishes or laundry.
Things may be chaotic for a little while. Having newborn twins is a challenge, however, with an energetic child thrown into the mix, the situation can get quite interesting – but equally wonderful. Today, Ava is a remarkable big sister, kissing her sisters and bringing them their favorite toys. While there were some ups and downs along the way, each was well worth it.