Entries tagged with “behavior”.
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Tue 26 Oct 2010
Twin Friendships are relatively easy to manage when twins are very young, but as twins get a little bit older, twin friendships can really be a challenge. Like many things twin, the dynamic is different with each unique set of twins, but there are many common twin friendship struggles.
These struggles get introduced when twins venture into new territory where new friendships can develop — such as school, sports, church, and other extra curricular activities. These opportunities open the doors to meeting new kids and often times bring separate exposure to new kids. Whereas in the early years, twins are frequently introduced to new friends at the same time, and have the same opportunities for becoming friends. Friendships in the early years are often (not always) formed almost as a unit. Both twins are friends with another child (or another set of twins). Yet, even with these shared friends, struggles may begin to arise as children get a little bit older and want to stake a claim to a particular shared friend.
One Twin’s Friend
Even in the closest twin bond, when one twin makes a new friend that the other twin may not have been introduced to, or who has had limited exposure to, feelings can get hurt. No one wants to feel like the 3rd wheel. Unfortunately, this circumstance is very common with twins. One twin will often feel like the odd man out. Twins who once got along beautifully are now struggling. This shows itself in many ways, from temper tantrums to sabotage.
Helping a twin cope
Parents need to be keenly aware of new friendships and help twins work through feelings of being shut out. This might take the form of a special activity for the other twin to enjoy when their sibling is having a special playdate. Parents can also actively search out opportunities for the other twin to make individual friendships of their own. But probably most important, is encouraging your child to talk about her feelings. Help her to put herself into her twin’s place and explore those feelings, as well as putting herself into the new friends’ position.
Helping a twin to be empathetic
But the burden of understanding should not be placed solely on the other twin. The twin that is in the process of forming a separate friendship can use some coaching at this critical point as well. Talk with him about friendships and empathy. “How do you think it feels for Sally, now that you have a new friend? You don’t have to give up your new friendship, but how can you make her feel better along the way?” Helping your children through to deeper understanding is critical in their development into caring young people.
Ultimately, you cannot control your children’s friendships. But, you can be there to be a listening ear. You can encourage your twins to talk about their feelings — with you and with each other. You can help them develop a deeper understanding of their twin bond and begin to develop empathetic feelings for others. You can help them to understand that their actions and friendships are not totally about themselves. Before you know it, they will have many types of friendships and will be caring young adults.
copyright 2010 – TwinParenthood / Kathryn Whiteley
Thu 11 Feb 2010
Bedtime challenges exist for many families, but when you add twins, triplets, or more into the equation, things can get out of hand rather quickly. Many children begin to resist bedtime as they move into the toddler years. With twins sharing a bedroom, Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES) begins to play a role. Twin Escalation Syndrome is the tendency for twins to feed upon each other’s behaviors, and to escalate the behaviors in reaction to each other. At bedtime, this often results in extended talking, or turns “bedtime” into “playtime”.
The Wake Up Light System solves sleep problems
The “Wake Up Light” (or “Morning Light”) is a light that comes on when it is time to get up in the morning. You hook up a night-light on a timer. When it is sleep time, the light is OFF… when it is okay to get up, the light comes on. Please read TwinParenthood.com’s article on the basics of the Wake Up Light System to get an understanding of this useful sleep tool and how to use Sleep Rules with the light and timer. In this article, Part 2 of our series on the “Wake Up Light System, we’ll discuss how to use the light and timer to promote good sleep behaviors at bedtime.
||Carefully choose a timer for your Wake Up Light System, to include a toggle on/off feature and to allow for multiple on/off timings.
Dealing with Playtime at Bedtime
Set the timer so that the light is on for 5-10 minutes at bedtime after you leave the room. Tell your twins they can talk/sing/read/use the bathroom during that time, but when the light goes out… they must lay down, close their eyes, be still and be quiet. As noted in part one of our Wake Up System articles, it is important to review these Sleep Rules every night at bedtime.
If they violate the sleep rules, don’t get angry. Just calmly say “It’s sleep time.” and take them back to their bed and lay them down. If you need to, you can repeat the sleep rules in a monotone whisper: “the light is off: lay down, close eyes, be still, be quiet”. Do not linger, do not give kisses, etc. just lay them in bed then leave the room. Do this as many times as you need to do it — do not waver, do not get angry… just matter of fact and boring.
If you have some bad habits to break, it might take 3-4 days of this “matter of fact” putting them back in bed and repeating the sleep rules. After a few days they will get bored, but you might have to repeat this action many, many times during the training period. Don’t get discouraged. If you are consistent and really don’t give them any power by responding in a different way, talking with them, pleading with them, or scolding them, they will get bored and will stop violating the sleep rules.
||If you do not consistently enforce the sleep rules, the system will not work. You cannot be “too tired” to go enforce the rules in your monotone, boring voice. Tell yourself that the investment NOW, will pay off with better sleep for everyone (the babies and you) in just a few short (although it may seem long!) days.
The Wake Up Light System has been a blessing in our household, and as I’ve shared the system with other families of multiples, I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. Give the system a try and see how it works in your house!
Copyright 2010 Kathryn Whiteley — TwinParenthood.com
Mon 7 Dec 2009
Posted by KathrynWhiteley under Twin Tips
Getting kids to bed on time can be a challenge. My kids have always been very early risers no matter what time they went to bed. So, we quickly learned that an earlier bedtime meant a little respite for us. If you have twins, triplets, or more, getting kids to bed on time can be even more of a challenge because of “twin escalation syndrome” — that is, misbehavior tends to escalate exponentially. So, here are my top 5 tricks to make it happen more often than not (bedtime on time, that is!).
Top 5 tricks for getting kids to bed on time
Start early. Our bedtime routine starts a full hour before we intend to have our kids actually in bed.
Schedule. Our bedtime routine is the same every night. We honor our schedule. We rarely plan evening events that will disrupt it.
Read. We read at least 20 minutes to our kids every night. It helps with developing literacy and has a calming effect. We snuggle up on the couch with a blanket, read, and talk about our books.
Reward. Be sure to take the time to tell them they are doing a great job. Pick out something they are doing well and tell them. “I like how you…”
Ritual. Build in rituals that you perform consistently every night. For us, it is tucking in the stuffies a certain way, and saying the same words as we leave their room, “Good Night, Sleep Tight, See you in the Morning Light”.
I have to give a special thanks to Twittermoms and www.dramau.net. Because of illness (mine and my kids), I’ve really been off my blogging routine. They inspired me to get back on my routine. Just a quick little post to break the ice… and now I feel invigorated to begin anew. Thanks, guys!
Thu 29 Oct 2009
As with singletons, it is normal for twins, triplets or more to go through phases where they are frightened of the dark, or wake up in the night upset, crying, afraid, or in “need” of something from you. But since it is often associated with developmental stages, it can be more difficult for parents of multiples because often times more than one child is struggling in the night at the same time. Sometimes one upset child will wake up another, making things more difficult and complicated to resolve.
Babies and toddlers understand our words more than we think sometimes. Talking about it always helps. Several things helped in our house:
- There is a great book, titled “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell.
It’s about baby owls that awaken in the night and their mother is gone. They worry about what will happen to her and then her return reassures them. You can read the book (over and over and over and over) and talk about how it is normal for mommies (and daddies) to not be there when they wake up in the night.
- The “wake up light”. This is a light that comes on when it is time to get up in the morning. You hook up a night-light on a timer. When it is sleep time, the light is OFF… when it is okay to get up, the light comes on. How does this help? In the middle of the night, when they awaken and cry, you can come into their room.. point at the light and say in a reassuring voice, “the wake up light is not on, time for sleep”. Details on how to implement this system are available in our article, “The wake up light system helps to solve many sleep issues.”
- The bedtime talk. At bedtime, we always talk about what to do if they wake up in the night. “Think about why you woke up… are you cold? pull up the blankets (practice)… are you hot? take off a blanket (practice)… do you wonder if it is morning yet? check the wake up light (practice – point to the light)… snuggle into your bed, close your eyes, snuggle up with lovey, etc.” Although this conversation is about what happens in the middle of the night, it is reassuring and helps with the bedtime routine, too. Have this conversation every night — for months.
- Twin-to-twin comfort. Are the beds close together? Can the kids touch each other? After the three above things were in place, one night we said, “Tonight we’re going to go out and you’re going to go to sleep with your lovey. Reach over and hold hands with sister / brother. Isn’t that nice? You’ll be together just like the owl babies!”
- Consistent bedtime routine. Every night we’d use the exact same words as the last things we’d say when leaving the room. This routine was reassuring… they knew what was going to happen: mom and dad would go out and not come back until the morning — when the wake up light comes on. Be sure you are there when the morning light comes on. Say something like “Night-night, sweet dreams, I love you, see you when the wake up light comes on!” all very sing-song. And then, don’t get pulled back in. Make sure you have done EVERYTHING before you say these words. If you go back, it undermines the routine and they learn “delays” as they get older… “wait! I need a drink!”… “wait! I need a kiss!” Decide what things you will do for them each night. Then make sure you do all of them… try to do it in the same order each night. If you decide you are going to add something to the routine, add it at the beginning — not as the last thing. Adding it at the front end keeps the rhythm and shouldn’t trigger the idea that more things can be added at the end.
I hope these ideas spark some ideas that might help at your house. What else has worked for you? Please leave a comment — help out another struggling parent.~
Copyright 2009 – TwinParenthood.com / Kathryn Whiteley
* I was not compensated for the mention of this book. It is a personal recommendation only.
Fri 25 Sep 2009
Posted by KathrynWhiteley under Twin Life
Are you a victim of Twin Escalation Syndrome?
Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES) is the tendency for twins, triples, or more to feed upon each others behaviors, and to escalate the behaviors in reaction to each other. TES. If you are a parent of multiples, you’ve got it. Every day.
If one multiple gets scolded for bad behavior, the other(s) must immediately perform the same action that resulted in the scolding – and often build on the behavior – bigger, bolder, “badder”. If one screams, the others scream louder.
In fact, Twin Escalation Syndrome often results in behavior that is so over the top, we’re not just talking “double trouble”. You’ve got the bad behavior of one, added to the bad behavior of the other, and then intensified — exponentially. Sometimes it seems that every bad behavior of one is picked up and mimicked by the other(s).
“Getting into Mischief” is a whole lot easier to do when you’re a twin.
"Honey... Have you seen my shaving cream?"
And let’s face it – the old, “If your brother jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?” quip just doesn’t cut it. So what do you do?
1. Be calm.
When you can see a TES situation forming, try not to get swept up in the escalation. Shouting only heightens the sense of chaos. Take a deep breath and proceed with the following defense tactics.
2. Focus your attention.
Often TES occurs because of competition between siblings. Deal with one child at a time, but tell the others that their turn is next. Take steps to minimize the competition between your multiples. Try to get one on one time with each multiple on a daily basis, and at least one extended one on one event with each per week.
Attempt to distract one or both before the situation gets out of hand. Suggest a new activity – and participate with your multiples in that activity – since their escalating behavior is probably an attempt to get your attention anyway.
4. Time out!
Yes, the old tried and true “time out “ method. But with multiples, the key is to designate time out locations that are in separate rooms. Time out locations also should not be in a place where you don’t want to associate bad feelings (for example, a crib/bed is probably not a good time out location). Time outs generally should not exceed 1 minute per year/age beginning at age three. Before age three, time outs might entail a few minutes sitting quietly with mommy reading a book instead of partaking in the escalating behavior you are trying to avoid.
I love hearing all the funny “Twin Escalation Syndrome” examples from other parents of multiples. Please share yours!
Copyright 2009 – twinParenthood.com / Kathryn Whiteley
Thu 24 Sep 2009
Posted by KathrynWhiteley under Surveys
I absolutley love, love, love, to hear funny stories about twins, triplets or more getting into mischief. Do you have any funny stories to share, where their behavior seemed to feed upon one another?
Please take this quick survey to share your story (or, just leave a comment here if you’d prefer to do it that way).
Click Here to take TwinParenthood.com survey “Twin Mischief”
As always, thank you so much for your help with my blog and book!
Fri 4 Sep 2009
“Stop. STOP. STOP!” Stopping bad, or I should say, unacceptable behaviors in toddler twins, triplets, or higher order multiples can be a challenge.
We’re not talking about the minor annoyances, here. We’re talking about those behaviors that must stop — biting, hitting, screaming, spitting, you name it. These are the behaviors that cannot, must not, continue. These problems exist with singletons too, but with multiples it seems to be magnified.
I still remember the day my toddler son, Brenden, bit his brother on the arm. There was a distinct set of teeth marks on Trevin’s little arm. The howling cries brought me tearing into the living room, and I was so shocked to see that he had drawn blood. These are moments when you can either shake your child (please don’t), or have a plan ready to quickly, unemotionally, deal with it so (hopefully) it won’t ever happen again. Fortunately, I had a plan.
A triplet mom friend had passed along a little “cure” to me — which I have to say is fabulous! It works like a charm. When she first told me about this cure, she talked about how her kids had been going through a screaming stage. They would scream about anything, long, loud, blood curdling screams. The solution? “Screaming Medicine”. A drop of white vinegar onto the tongue of the offender with the sad exclamation, “Bummer! You are “insert behavior here” again. Now you’ll need some of the “insert behavior here” medicine to stop that. So sad.”
I’m telling you, it works! I quickly soothed my crying son, and grabbed the magic bottle. Turning to Brenden, I expressed my empathy (“Bummer, Brenden. You’ve hurt Trevin. You need some biting medicine to stop that so it won’t happen again. So sad.”) I quickly put a single drop on Brenden’s tongue. His eyes got very big and he started to cry. I felt like a big meanie… but only for a moment. I realized that this harmless little bitter drop was so much better than yelling, spanking, or more biting.
Over the years, we have used (and still occasionally do use) the following types of “STOP” medicine (all of which are actually vinegar, of course): biting, hitting, screaming, and spitting. Not sure what is next, but the little bottle is waiting on the shelf, at the ready.
|Tip: If you have infant bottles of liquid vitamins, save the dispenser to re-use as your “STOP” medicine bottle. The eye-dropper dispenser is wonderful for depositing a single drop of vinegar on your child’s tongue.
This solution shouldn’t be used for minor behaviors you wish to stop. Children need to learn techniques for controlling their own behavior and rely on your help to teach them how to do that. STOP medicine is for the behaviors that need to stop immediately because there is a safety concern.
Now, all I have to say is, “Bummer! You are “insert behavior here” again!” and they hang their heads, walking slowly to the bathroom sink. They lean over the sink where I drop a single drop of the vinegar onto their tongue. The best part is the sound they make after it hits their tongue. “Pah! Pah! Pah!” as they grab for the paper cups so they can rinse out their mouth.
The taste is bitter and very unpleasant. The consequences are logical. Kids these days are used to receiving medicine for various problems. And best of all, a single drop of vinegar is not at all harmful.
Give it a try, and see how fast you are able to stop those unacceptable toddler behaviors. Oh, did I mention that my “toddlers” are now 8 and 6? The good news is that these nasty behaviors only crop up once in a while — as long as they know the nasty consequences. As they’ve gotten older, we have added a “make up” chore as well. So, a drop of “STOP” and a make-up chore for the victim. And that is my little STOP toolkit.
What’s in your “STOP” toolkit? Please leave a comment and share with the rest of us worn-out, tired, and fed-up referees.
Copyright 2009 Kathryn Whiteley – http://twinParenthood.com