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Twin Toddlers

How to survive the supermarket with twin toddlers

Supermarket Nightmares.

Take your children to the supermarket with you only when they are well fed, not tired, not ill, and are not thirsty! If you take them with you when they are tired, hungry, thirsty, or ill, you’re simply asking for trouble! In fact the best possible solution would be to do online shopping for groceries.

If you take them with you enlist their help looking for items, or counting things out etc. Keep them occupied and they shouldn’t run off so often. If they manage to get all the way round without running off, having a tantrum, etc offer them some kind of reward. It could be a snack in the coffee shop, a ride on a ride-on toy or an edible treat. Praise them whenever you catch them doing something you like, or behaving well.

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Should toddlers have an afternoon nap (or not)

Afternoon Nap or not?

This largely depends on your individual children. They may still need an afternoon sleep, or they might be fine to go without. If you find that they are sleeping too long in the afternoons and not wanting to settle or have a place at school nursery in the afternoons you might find that they need to have a shorter nap or skip one full stop. If they are cranky in the afternoon but finding it difficult to sleep at night, they might need a short nap. Sometimes sleep problems are caused by lack of sleep rather than having too much of it! (Yes I know it sounds a bit bizarre, but adults also get too tired to sleep!)

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How to get rid of Dummies, Binkies and Pacifiers

How to get rid of Dummies/Pacifiers/ Binkies
Whatever you call them they can be useful when your children are little, but there comes a time when having a dummy to suck on for comfort isn’t a good idea anymore.

How do you get rid of them without any fuss? Some parents wait until Christmas and leave the dummies out for Santa to take, in exchange for Christmas presents. Others have left them out for the Binky fairy to take at bedtime. Usually she leaves something as a token gift in exchanged. You could tie them to your tree if you have one, and let the fairies take them overnight. Other parents simply put them in the bin!


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Toddler Proofing your home!

‘We’ve toddler-proofed our home but they’re still getting in!’ (anon)

The first thing you should consider when your babies start toddling (which may be from as early as around 9 months!) is how to keep them safe. You can buy special baby safety equipment from good D.I.Y. stores, Baby supply stores, and off the internet.

Move anything that is within easy reach of your toddlers. This includes your:
•Dvd / BluRay collection,
•Cleaning products,
•Medicines including vitamin tablets and other supplements
•Loose food ingredients such as flour, cereals, sugar, rice, pasta etc.
•Washing powder and fabric conditioner
•Toilet rolls.
•Toiletries etc.
•Pens and crayons should also be put well out of reach as the more creative of twins can make wonderful works of art all over the walls, floor and furniture!
•Make sure you and any of your guests put handbags out of reach especially if they contain painkillers, or any easy to swallow items.
•Move nail varnish, nail varnish remover and make up right out of the way too.
•Buy plug socket covers so they can’t amuse themselves sticking forks and fingers into the plug sockets.
•A lock for cupboards can be very useful too.
•Buy baby gates for over the top and bottom of the stairs. Cook on the back rings if at all possible or buy a play pen to put them in whilst you’re cooking or  buy a baby gate for the kitchen door, so that they can’t try to pull things off the rings or burn themselves on a hot ring.
•Always put cups with hot drinks well out of reach (bear in mind that roving toddlers tend to try to pull themselves up on coffee tables too).
•It is possible to buy protectors for furniture so little ones can’t fall and bang their heads on things like tables etc too.
•Any furniture that is very tall should be strapped to the wall so if the twins try to pull themselves up on it they don’t pull the furniture on top of them.
•If you have a yale lock for your door, make sure you have a key somewhere accessible in case you get locked out!
•Buy window locks so that they can’t fall out of open windows.
•Buy fire guards to put round any open fires or wood burning stoves in winter

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Twin Toddlers

Twin Toddlers need routine! They need to know (roughly) what comes next! 

Some of you will be sending your children to a childminder or to day nursery so they will be used to being in a set routine from Monday to Friday anyway. It can help to loosely stick to their routine at weekends, so that they have their meals at roughly the same time, and any afternoon naps at a similar time.

If your children are not going to day nursery or a child minder it would be a good idea to have them in a routine so that they eat at similar times each day, take a nap at similar times and go out at the same sort of times each day.

Also having a night time routine that is also the same can help them settle better at night.
If you observe them carefully you should be able to work out when your toddlers are at their most alert, and when they like to sleep, and when they get hungry and fit their routine around this.

Do things your twins would find most challenging during the times that they are least tired and not hungry. If you wait until it’s almost meal time or nap time you’re setting yourself up for a tough time! If they’re happy and fed, and had a drink then they are likely to be in a better mood and cooperate more. It is a good idea to tell them what is coming next, even if they have no real concept of time.

Terrible two’s x 2!
Most parents find that their children become more challenging when they are around two, hence the term ‘terrible twos’. Don’t worry this is a normal part of their development and simply a phase that they go through. The best way of dealing with the terrible twos is to set clear boundaries. Make sure they always know what is acceptable and what isn’t. Then be consistent. If you laugh when they do *whatever* today, laugh again when they repeat the behaviour tomorrow. Don’t laugh at something today and then tell them off for it tomorrow or they will get confused.

Ignore  any behaviour that is only mildly unacceptable. Have a planned consequence for any behaviour that is very unacceptable, such as biting, fighting, hair pulling, pinching, spitting tantrums etc. Let them know that they will be going to the naughty step for a time out, or having something taken off them (or whatever) if they do the particular behaviour. The rule is they go to the naughty step for one minute per year of their life, up to a maximum of ten minutes. Should they refuse to go to the naughty step or leave before their allotted time is up, the time starts over again. Once time out is completed, they should then acknowledge why they were there  and apologise to you.

Often when children are badly behaved they want attention, and any kind of attention will do, they don’t care whether it is positive attention or negative attention. So the best way to avoid them constantly wanting your attention by doing naughty things is to praise them profusely for anything GOOD that they do. If they sit nicely, eat nicely, play nicely, share, etc, praise them. Praise them when they come back to you when you call them. Notice what they do that you’d like them to do again.

Give them positive feed back that they are behaving well, that you were really happy that they looked out for their friend earlier, or that they said ‘Please’ when they asked for a drink. If you would like to you can reinforce this by having an instant rewards jar (filled with cheap fun toys that you give out when someone does something nice). Star charts also work well, particularly if you have one that they share, rather than them having a competition.

If your toddlers are encountering a new situation for the first time, you will have to explain to them what is going to happen and how they should behave. Unfortunately they don’t come pre-programmed knowing how to behave at a place of worship, airport, another persons house, a restaurant, etc.
Make sure that you don’t have all your children’s toys out at once, put a couple of big boxes away for another day, so when they get bored of one set, you can swap over the boxes and have a whole ‘new’ set to play with. It also stops your living room/ play room / their bedrooms from getting very messy. Joining your local toy library can also be a great idea. Here you can borrow a toy each, usually for a small fee. They can have them to play with for a week or two and then take them back and get a new one. They sometimes hire bigger toys for parties and other events which is a real bonus.

It can also help if you keep your sentences very simple, often when faced with lots of words small children ‘switch off’! This particularly applies if you are trying to get them to do things. Ask them only to do one thing at a time.

A little time apart occasionally? 
It can be really good for twin toddlers to occasionally spend some time apart from each other.  This can be a simple thing like one twin going with mummy to collect a takeaway/ newspaper/ run an errand whilst the other one stays with Daddy/ Grandparent/ Trusted friend and does something else. It helps them to be able to be separate. If they do seem a little anxious at first, reassure them. It is quite common for twins to be a little anxious at first as they are so used to having their twin just there the whole time. Some twins go to nursery one day a week on their own, so they can have some quality one to one time with their parent. This can work well for some twins. However some do become quite stressed at first, so play this one by ear. If you find that they hate being separated you could simply do something in a different room one to one for a little while and build up slowly to going somewhere.

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