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Many parents find the first year with multiples is the hardest stage as your family learns to cope with the challenges posed by the new babies. But over that first 12 months you will hopefully have settled into a routine that suits you all.
If your babies were premature, this will affect not only their size, but also how quickly they are likely to meet developmental milestones. Although every baby is different and most premature babies will catch up with children born at full-term.
Twins tend to be smaller at birth than single babies, and they can take a while to catch up with their peers, though the gap has usually closed by the time they are eight, if not before.
From learning to walk and talk to potty training, the fact that your children are twins will have an effect on certain stages of development.
Potty training two toddlers may seem daunting, but the process isn’t that different to teaching one child how to go to the toilet. You may want to potty train your twins at the same time, but be aware that often one twin may be ready sooner than the other. Often the girl in boy/girl twins will be ready to start toilet training before her brother.
For general potty training tips, see Birth to five: how to potty train.
While isolation can be a problem when twins are babies, getting out and about can be almost as much of a challenge once they are on the move.
Double pushchairs are bulky, so once your twins are confident walkers it might be worth considering swapping to a single pushchair. When you are out set fixed points where the walker swaps with the child in the pushchair to avoid arguments.
As children grow up they will enjoy the stimulation offered by activities and playgroups. If you can, ask another adult to accompany you where necessary, for example to take your twins to the local swimming pool.
Always ask if classes or playgroups offer a twins discount as the cost can mount up when you are paying for two. TAMBA has also negotiated special rates for its members with many organizations, and offers a discounted membership rate for parents on benefits.
When you are caring for twins your attention will always be split between two children, which can lead to jealousy.
Twins need to learn that life isn’t fair and parents need to realise that if they attend to the needs of each child as they arise, over time each twin will probably get equal amounts of attention.
To help stop feelings of jealousy it is important to give each twin separate time with each parent, in the long run this is more important than family time. Make sure this time is a regular part of their routine. Children are creatures of habit and if they know they will have time on their own with a parent this should lead to improved behaviour.
Twins and multiples have their own, individual, personalities, but it can be hard for parents to acknowledge differences without making one child feel less valued. TAMBA offers the following tips to help parents cope:
TAMBA offers a range of information on its website on coping with twins growing up, including leaflets on potty training multiples, dealing with differences and twins and multiples in the early school years. TAMBA leaflets are free to members and usually available for a fee to non-members.
The Multiple Births Foundation produces The First Five Years and Beyond (£7.99), which can be purchased via the website.
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