Most parents struggle with not getting enough time one-on-one with their children, but if you are a parent of twins or multiples you’re likely battling the guilt and logistics of making it happen a bit more than other parents. No one disputes the importance of getting to know children as unique individuals, but how do you create time to enjoy your twins one-on-one when they are so often parented as a pair? Here are 7 ideas for spending quality alone time with your twins, even if it’s just a few precious minutes.
1. Divide and conquer with your spouse
Family time is precious and it’s often hard to split up when you finally have time to be together. However, it’s often the most feasible opportunity to create some alone time. Don’t feel you have to do something special to make the time together feel meaningful. Letting one child stay home for time with Dad while you take the other to run errands can be just as worthy. Even babies can benefit from the time on their own with you, and older kids will appreciate that they’ve been given a chance to win over your complete attention.
2. Make bath time a solo occasion
Babies and toddlers likely don’t need a full bath every night. Give your children baths on alternating nights, spending time with one in the bath – singing, talking, and splashing – while Dad plays or reads to his sibling. As babies get older, more active and need to be bathed daily, try to stick to solo baths by having Dad or an older sibling play with one twin while the other has his turn in the bath with your undivided attention.
3. Take advantage of alone time with an early riser or a night owl
While it’s easier to keep the same bedtime for both, your children may have internal clocks that keep one up later or rising earlier than the other. The time when one is asleep can become precious, quiet minutes for two of you to talk, cuddle or read.
4. Hire a mother’s helper
Having multiples is expensive and not everyone can afford to add extra childcare to the budget, but you may be able to find a young girl or boy in the neighborhood who would love to help you out for a lower fee. Mother’s helpers, typically kids around the age of 9-12, are anxious to acquire babysitting experience and are often willing to earn it by playing with a child while you are in the house. Take the opportunity to take your child on a walk or play in another room while your helper entertains the other.
5. Book a sitter (or trade childcare duty with a friend) for some one-on-one
Sitters aren’t just for date night or for getting your work done. While as much as you’d love (and deserve!) a night out with your spouse or a girlfriend, why not take your child on a daytime date, instead? Little kids will love going just about anywhere you take them. As they get older, let them choose where they’d like to go and how they’d like to spend their time alone with you. Find an activity or place that can become something just the two of you share, and make it a regular occurrence.
6. Stagger nap times
Their nap time is likely your only time for a little peace and quiet! Rather than sacrifice it entirely, why not wake one child up slightly earlier than the other so you have some time to play together. If one goes down for his nap more easily than the other, another option is to wait 15 minutes before putting his twin down.
7. Assign chore helpers
Kids love to help, especially when they think they’ve been carefully selected for a big kid job. Assign one child laundry helper and another table setter or duster. The two of you can tackle the job together, and at the same time get some consistent, solo time together.
Taking advantage of opportunities for one-on-one time with each of your children, no matter how brief the moments sometimes are, allows you to bond with them as individuals and to create your own unique memories together. According to Dr. Joana Friedman, an expert on twins, creating a strong bond with one’s parents is important to a twin’s emotional growth and is also an important avenue toward developing a harmonious twin relationship… meaning time you spend alone with your twins is beneficial to both of you.