It starts around 18 months. You start to realize they know more than you think they did. They definitely understand the three or four rules you’ve decided to battle over. The ones that are important enough that if they are broken, there must be a consequence, or punishment.
With twins, it can be even more aggravating because even though Mommy and Daddy are over here saying “NO!”, her twin is over there laughing, and egging her on for more. Now, which person do you want to please more at times like these? Your boring parents, or your peers?
Twins in Time Out
We definitely used Time Out as a consequence in our house. It worked some of the time yet there was always this secret little game going on where the twin who was not in time out brought things to the twin who was. And if both landed in time out they would chat, compare boogers, giggle, and shout to each other when we caught on and put them in separate rooms. Plus, unless both parents are around to physically enforce Time Out, it can feel like herding cats trying to get the two to stay put for the 3 minutes they have to be there. The longest three minutes ever.
A Different Kind of Separation Anxiety
When I was still pregnant with my twins a friend of mine and more experienced twin mom said it was easier to discipline twins because you can just separate them and they will listen. It took me a good three years before I actually tried it and I can safely say I have never looked back!
I have to say my twins are extremely well behaved, and I’m not just saying that because I’m their mother. In fact, sometimes I’m the first to criticize them, but that’s another article. I’ve had friends, neighbors, teachers, and the real test…strangers, come up to me and compliment the girls on how well behaved they are. What these people don’t know is how my cute little red-headed dolls save up all their sass just for their parents, and usually when no one else is around to witness it.
The best thing I have found to
- diffuse my anger and;
- diffuse them,
is to separate them. I call it “taking a break from each other”.
And they can’t stand it. They do know how to entertain themselves if they have to, and they often find some quiet time to be alone. They just don’t like me deciding when that will be.
“Taking a break from each other” is great for those days where they are arguing like an old married couple, and pushing each other’s buttons. I’ll say “You need to take a break” and send one to their room and one to the basement. Well, within minutes they are promising to find a way to play nicely and the world is again at peace.
Take the Keys
I know separating the girls will not be effective forever. I know someday I will have to take away actual stuff…the Nintendo DS, the cell phone, the MP3 player, or even some day the car keys. But for now I’m happy to have ditched the Time Out chair for something that is easier on me, and more effective.
Janine Nickel is the the mother of 5-year old twin girls and has learned that there’s nothing like children to show you all your defects of character. Janine blogs about her neuroses, her twins, and things that make her life easier (aka: product reviews) at Twofer the Price of One