How will my toddler react to the twins?

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - February 17, 2014

Our question for today is, “How was your toddler when the twins arrived?”

Twins with older sibling
It can take some time for an older sibling to adjust to twins.

Help Older Kids Transition

Now, as many of you will recall, when our twin girls were born we already has two boys: a 3-year-old boy and a 21-month-old boy. So, both of them were very young and were still toddlers. Our older boy, he loved being around his little sisters and he enjoyed helping as much as a 3-year-old can help, as much as he could. Our younger boy basically ignored his little sisters after the initial excitement wore off. Sure, he was excited when we took him to the hospital to introduce him to his baby sisters. Sure, he was excited when they came home, but eventually that novelty wore off. It took a while for him to warm back up to his sisters.

Of course, at the time he was used to being the youngest, the baby of the family. But he had been replaced, times two, with his twin sisters. So there was definitely some adjustment that needed to happen, just as it would happen with any youngest child who has a new sibling in the house. We tried to set aside one-on-one time with each of our kids to help ease the transition. We also got help from family and friends who could be with either the twins or our older children.

Begin Preparing Your Toddler for Twins

So how will your twins affect your toddler? Well, look for other behaviors of your toddler right now for indications of what you might expect. Does your toddler always cling to you? Does your toddler always have to be near you? When you leave the room, what happens? Is your toddler fine with other family members or around strangers? In play groups, or at church, or with cousins, how does your toddler handle other little kids? If you don’t pay attention to your toddler, what happens? Can your toddler entertain himself or herself without supervision? Or do you always have to be providing activities and things for them to do?

Ideally, you would be able to foster more independence and self-reliance in your toddler now so that when your twins come and you know you will not have as much time to dedicate to your toddler, the transition will go a little more smoothly. If your toddler already knows how to play, entertain, and take care of himself, at least the basics, then when you are busy with the twins, the whole house won’t fall apart.

So how will your toddler react to the twins arrival? Look for clues in their current behavior in social settings and prepare for the traditional pushback and potential problems that any youngest child puts up when a new sibling is introduced into the house. Do your best to help prepare your toddler for your twins arrival so they kind of know what to expect when the day comes.

This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 54: Twins While Finishing College, Toddler Reactions, 3rd C-Section.

Picture by Alicia.

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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