This question comes from Brandon. He asks, “How did you manage an older child’s feelings and the inability to spend as much one-on-one time with them as you would like?”
Well, Brandon, we do have two older boys that were ages 3 and under when our twin girls arrived. So I think that one advantage that you have of having an older child is that he can understand more easily what is happening as opposed to another infant or very young child when your twins are born. So at least your child may be old enough to understand the babies are coming, and what that’s going to mean. It can better set expectations. Also, an advantage of having an older child when your twins are born is that they can be a real help to you and your wife, and your family in helping to care for the babies even in little ways.
One-on-One Time with Older Children
As far as helping to manage your child’s feelings, it’s important that you set expectations with them ahead of time as much as possible. This can be done by talking with them openly and honestly about what’s going to happen when the babies arrive. You should have regular conversations with them about how things may change around the home and with the family, but that you still love them very much and that you care for them. They need to know that they are going to be part of your family even when the twins arrive and they need to be able to help you and your family with the babies.
Another thing you can do is schedule time specifically to spend one-on-one time with your children. This way, the business of life and work doesn’t crowd out the need to spend individual time with your children. I think it’s very important that you are consciously aware that this may be a challenge and therefore you will be looking for opportunities to spend time with each of your children. I would try to spend some one-on-one time with each of our boys after our girls were born. However, this time was very limited as we were very busy with raising our twins, just taking care of their basic necessities as well as balancing that and work. But even simple things like taking the boys to the store or away from the house, away from the twins was good for keeping up the relationship and individual communication with each of them.
We also enjoyed having family and friend stay with us for a couple of months after our twins were born. This could then free up time for our friends or family to watch the twins while my wife and I were able to spend time with our older boys. That way everyone was able to get the attention that they needed.
Also check out my chat with father of twins Jason Corns who shared insights into how he made one-on-one time with his son after the twins were born.
This topic was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 65: One-on-One Time, Family vs. Work, Renting Gear.