When I found out I was pregnant with twins, my sister and fellow mom of multiples gave me the sage advice to get my babes on the same schedule. She was the expert so I listened. From the beginning, Henry and Harper napped, nursed, and played together. I changed their diapers and gave them baths at the same time. They sleep trained and started solids together. They went to the same preschool. They still share a bedroom. They’ve got that special twin thing going on.
But a few years ago, I knew it was possible to have too much togetherness. Their interests had widely deviated from the other, and they were no longer thriving in the same classroom at school or enjoying the same friend group. They needed to be treated as the individuals they were. And learning more about those little humans required separation from the other.
Last weekend was wide open so we told our kids that they each could pick a parent to spend some 1-on-1 time with for a few hours. Once they made their choice, Graham and I decided on what the parent/child activity would be. Maddox and Graham went out for a burger. Henry and I played arcade games. I treated Harper to a local art studio experience and took Winnie to a childrens’ museum. Each activity was under 2 hours, the destinations were local, and the cost was minimal.
The point was we made time for each child individually.
Like mine, your family may have a lot of “together” time. With all the busyness outside the four walls of our homes, moments together are sacred, but our babies also want time apart. And more than that, they are craving 1-on-1 time with us. Individual moments with a child mean a parent can focus solely on them without dealing with sibling rivalry or being pulled away by other obligations. We can become an active participant in the things that interest our children.
Moms and dads of more than a few babes, I encourage you to find these pockets of time and space in your schedules and use them to cultivate individual relationships. Go through your local family magazine for community activities, visit a playground, or send your children on an errand with the other parent and spend time with just one babe at home. Scheduling your parent/child date on a monthly calendar will make it more likely to happen.
You babes will love it. You will cherish it. And time together with the whole family may become a bit sweeter.