Today, I am lucky to have a guest post aimed at parents and grandparents alike, something which I, personally, couldn’t write due to lack of experience. I do know that most of the pointers are right on. Especially the separation one. Right now, my twins would never allow themselves to be separated (we’re working on it, though.).
Double the pleasure, double the fun. And let’s not sugar coat it, twins can also be double the trouble for grandparents. But with a little help from the parents, the internet and the twins themselves, grandparenting twins can be the best gig ever.
It used to be that twins often “ran in families” and traditional thought was that the rest of us were off the hook. But today’s modern medical technology has created an increase in fertility treatments – resulting in more and more multiple births. So parents and grandparents – get used to it!
First things first. Or who’s who. That is often the first major hurdle for senior aged grandparents when two little bundles of joy enter the family at the same time. One boy and one girl? No problem. But two of each? Depending on how often the grandparents see the twins, it may or may not be hard to tell them apart. Ask the parents for suggestions – because they’ll have started noticing subtle differences from the start. But really? The fun is in spending time with them – and letting their personalities emerge on their own. And if all else fails, there is always the color- coded clothing option – at least while grandma and grandpa have the kids.
Babysitting twins may sound like twice as much work, but look on the bright side – once one child is old enough to do an activity, the other one is too! Here are some tips to make it fun for all.
• Go with the flow. This might sound silly, but seriously, it’s important to throw planning out the window. It’s fine – good even – to come up with a few options of things to do, but sometimes the kids, especially when they come in pairs, have suggestions of their own. And very strong feelings about what it is they want to do.
• Find out how the kids feel about being apart. Some well-meaning grandparents might feel that it would be special to give each child some one-on-one time with grandma or grandpa while the other twin spends time with the other one. This makes perfect sense on paper, but some kids would prefer not to be split up. Just be sure to ask in advance before trying to load them into separate cars and facing a meltdown.
• Times have changed. While the harried parents may welcome advice, they may want to do it their own way – even if it means making a few mistakes. Especially if elder grandparents’ advice is outdated in any way.
• And most of all? Never ever ever treat one twin “better” than the other. It doesn’t matter if that child shares an interest with you or is better behaved or does better in school. Each twin is lovable in their own right for their own unique qualities. Remember that and it will be love at first sight. For both of you.