Steve sent us a good question. He and his wife are expecting twins, and he asks, “When and how should we tell the older kids that we’re having twins?”
When to Tell the Older Kids
Well, Steve, as a general rule of thumb, my wife and I, we like to wait until after the first trimester. Of course, any pregnancy is going to have a higher chance of success after you make it through that first trimester, and twins are no different. And so, after the first trimester is through, and things are looking good, and your ultrasounds are going well, and the doctor check-ups are good, it’s a perfect time to start involving your kids. And telling them that they’re going to be having siblings.
When you want to tell your kid, and how, is going to depend on their age. Now, when our twins were born, we had two boys who were both under the age of 3. So, when we found out we were pregnant, of course, they were even younger than that, and they weren’t fully able to understand what was happening until the very later stages of the pregnancy. So, keep in mind the age and the temperament of your older children to see when is an appropriate time to tell them and what you should say.
Maybe, if your child is 1 year old, maybe when Mom starts to have a noticeable bump and actually starts to look pregnant externally, that’s a perfect time to tell the 1 year old. Maybe, if you have a 2 year old, when you start telling others – family or friends – that you’re expecting twins, is a good time to tell them, as well. Now, toddlers love to hear about when they were a baby and see pictures of when they were a baby, and see videos of when they were a baby. So, if you have toddlers and you’re expecting twins, it’s a perfect time to pull out those old baby pictures and old baby videos and show them what they were like as a baby. That will get them excited about having a baby in the house.
Involving Older Siblings
One thing that you can do as you announce is to help involve older siblings in the preparations for the twins’ arrival. This can be helping to paint rooms, put furniture together, organize, move things around, or go shopping for baby gear or baby clothes. Help involve them so they feel like they are part of welcoming the twins into your family. You may need to help teach them the logistics of what to do with a baby – how to change a diaper, how to hold a baby, how to feed a baby. This can be done through classes that you can take, probably at your hospital, or, if you have friends or family who have infants in the home, you can go visit them and have your older child hold the baby and help with the baby, there, to get some experience.
Father of twins Jason Corns shared how he broke the news to his toddler son on this podcast episode.
(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 39: Telling Older Children You’re Expecting Twins, Road Trip with Newborns, Two Hospitals.
Picture by Brent Schmidt