Keeping Twins Busy – Podcast 119

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - June 1, 2016

Keeping Twins Busy

Episode 119 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

I recently heard from a twin mom who wanted advice on how to keep her twins busy and away from each other.

Listen to this episode as I discuss how this twin mom (and you) can overcome this challenge, including:

  • Why you don’t necessarily need to keep your twins “busy”
  • How to avoid using TV as a babysitter
  • Physically separating twins
  • Giving your twins jobs and chores around the house
  • Identifying your twins’ interests and using that to your advantage
  • Helping your twins learn to play together
  • Why playing outside the home might be the answer
  • When to give the most attention to your children
  • Is this just a phase?
  • Are you parenting true to your children’s inherit nature?

Mentioned on the Show

Podcast #104 with Carol Tuttle
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Have a question you’d like to hear on the show? Contact Joe here or send me a tweet @twindadjoe


Hi there and welcome to the 119th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always you can find me on the web at, where you will find much more information on having and raising twins, along with the show notes and transcripts for this and all previous podcast episodes.

Today’s show is brought to you buy Twin T-Shirt Company. Where we have dozens of t-shirts for parents of twins just like yourselves, including one of our popular shirts, the Twinado Chaser t-shirt. You can check that out and all of the others at

Today we have a question from a twin mom who writes and asks, I need tips on how to keep the twins busy and away from each other. The older sibling acts like a triplet. Any advice?

Well it sounds like you have a situation similar to what we have had. We had our two little girls and they had two older brothers, but not much older. They were both under the age of three when the girls were born. And so when you start to have a lot of young children in the house at the same time, things do get kind of complicated. So I can understand why you are looking for some tips on how to keep the twins busy and away from each other.

Now one thing that you need to consider is that you don’t necessarily think they have to keep them busy all of the time. You know children need to learn how to entertain themselves and to interact with each other. And to keep themselves busy. That’s not your job. Because if you train them to rely on you to always be entertaining them, that’s exactly what you are going to get for the months and years to come. Unless that’s not a situation you want to be in where you constantly have to be coming up with something to entertain your children. So it starts when they are very young to form into a path and habits you would like to see going forward.

I know how we love to avoid TV and screen time as kind of a crutch and a babysitter, so that does require that we become creative in how we help our kids stay busy and engaged and entertained, without us necessarily having to do all the work. One thing you may consider doing is giving your children jobs to do around the house. Chores for example. You know, sweeping, or picking up trash or making their bed. A lot of that of course is based on how old they are and their maturity levels.

Of course when they are still infants, they are not going to be able to do jobs, but as soon as they start to get to the toddler age, they can understand simple instructions and commands and follow those, that’s when you can start establishing healthy habits and routines in doing work inside the home to help build those skills and to give them some autonomy in the things that they are doing. This may be particularly helpful if you have older siblings that you need to have doing something and distracted let’s say from the twins.

And so if you have a toddler or older, give your toddler a job and a task to do. And it will require that you help them out in the beginning to get them into a habit so they know how to do that task. But afterwards they can do that on their own. And kids when they are young, they love to help. And so take advantage of that eager energy to your best advantage.

Now if your twins are always getting into trouble with each other, you may consider physically separating them. And that can be done through various methods. I mean you can put them in different rooms. You can put them in pack and plays or play yards that are separate. They may still be in the same family living space, but they are physically separated from each other. And so physical separation may work. However it doesn’t really cure the core problem of your twins not being able to interact with each other in a normal fashion or to entertain themselves.

(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)

While we did put our twins in Pack and Plays together and throw toys in there and let them play and that seemed to entertain them for a while. So you may find success in that as well. Have you been able to notice what each of your twins are interested in doing? What they like to do? What they don’t like doing? What maybe toys, or activity or other things that they really latch on to? And that’s something that you can focus on. So pay attention to what they like to go to, what they play with a lot, what they find satisfaction doing. And then let them do more of that, and you’ll find that they are able to entertain themselves and stay out of each other’s hair. Cause they are working on doing something that they enjoy doing.

Now as a parent, it is your responsibility to help your kids learn how to play together with each other and at home. This will require some supervision on your part and so I know if you have an immediate problem if your kids are always in each other’s faces and the older sibling is acting troublesome as well, in the short term, you are going to have to put in some additional work, supervision and oversight to help encourage the behavior that you want to see.

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We’ve had good success in our home of using positive parenting techniques. When your kids are doing something right, you praise them for that. Give them extra attention instead of just waiting for something to go bad and that’s when all of a sudden the kids get all of your attention. Because your kids are hungry for attention from you, the parent. And so if you are only giving it to them when they do something bad, well they are going to do more bad stuff just to get your attention. Because that’s when you spend time with them or when you talk to them.

So if you are giving them lots of positive attention and reinforcement when they are doing good things, it helps encourage that good behavior.

(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)

Another thing to consider is how do your children behave inside the home versus outside the home. This could be as simple as in your home or in your backyard or outside in the fresh air. Or it could be like at a park or a store or a friend’s house. If you see different behavior there, maybe they enjoy being outside. Maybe they are just tired of being cooped up inside of the house. And so take time to be outside and play with them. It could be in your backyard or it could be at the part, or wherever you find works best for your family. Maybe they like to go for a walk. Maybe they like to be in their wagon or stroller or their tricycles or whatever age appropriate transportation is for their age.

Plus the advantages of the outside, they are moving around and running around. It’s more likely for them to wear themselves out a little bit so they will sleep better and they will be in a better cycle or routine for you.

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Now another thing to consider is that your twins behavior right now is probably just a phase. And so it may be intense right now, it may be overwhelming right now, but it’s not going to be that way forever. I know that our children have gone through phases, ebbs and flows, or good behavior, bad behavior. How they interact with each other. Sometimes we are pulling our hair out wondering what’s going to happen, and the next day they are best friends again. And so be patient with yourself. Try to reinforce the good behavior that you want to see. Try different things to see what best engages and entertains your children. But don’t give up. This is probably just a phase and they are going to mature and grow through it.

Now another thing to consider is that as a parent, you need to be able to identify the core needs and styles and kind of energy of each of your children. So you can best adapt your parenting to each individual child. Don’t group your twins together as one entity because they are going to be very different individuals. I invite you to go back and listen to a podcast that I did with Carol Tuttle, Podcast 104, of course we talked about how to identify your child’s true nature and parent to that nature. By adapting your parenting style to each of your children, you’ll have much more success in getting the proper behavior that you would like to see in your family.

So remember when you are trying to keep the twins busy, first of all think, do I need to keep my twins busy? Or how can I encourage them to stay busy themselves with things they are doing and learning and entertaining themselves? And then the rest will start to fall into place.

So if you have a question about your twins you’d like me to address on the podcast, you can reach me over at You can email me, or send me a question via Twitter. My handle is @TwinDadJoe.

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Again today’s Podcast was brought to you by the Twin T-Shirt Company where we have dozens of t-shirts for parents of twins just like you, including a great t-shirt called the Twinado Chaser. It’s when you are chasing your twins around the house and need that shirt. You can check it out at

Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.

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Original photo by David Amsler

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Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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