Grand parenting twins in my opinion is a special blessing. I know because I am one. I had been hoping to be a grandparent for years, so imagine my surprise when I found out that I was going to have two straight away – double the pleasure!
If you’ve also received the news that you’re going to be grandparents of multiples, the following tips might help you prepare for the happy experience and not only help you foster a special bond but how to best provide support to their parents:
Learning how to tell them apart
Telling twins apart (unless they are different genders) is an important task for grandparents. If you don’t have the opportunity to see them very often, it can be a bigger challenge, especially if they’re identical. The best advice I can give you is to concentrate on their differences instead of how similar they are. The easiest way to do this is to spend some alone with each twin individually and pay attention to differences in body language, freckles, etc. Don’t be too hard on yourself because even the parents can have trouble initially telling their little bundles of joy apart. If you do get them mixed up and they’re old enough to know better, just apologise and give them each a hug, letting them know how special they are.
Thoughtful gift giving
Mums and dads of multiples need a ton of things to help with their care and make life a bit easier. Before you start showering them with gifts, ask the parents what they need to ensure that the gifts are needed. The last thing you want to do is go overboard and create unwanted clutter for the parents. Thoughtful gift ideas, especially for first-time parents, are things like health and safety items. A good idea would be to come up with a plentiful basket that includes things like nappies and nappy rash ointments, a thermometer, medicine dispensers, an infant pain reliever, nail clippers, bath accessories and a baby bathtub. If you’re buying clothes and don’t know the parent’s preferences yet, ask them for their opinions regarding matching outfits, etc. Not all parents of twins want to dress them in identical outfits – some hope to individualise their little darlings and there’s nothing wrong with either mindset.
Giving parents time to themselves once in a while is one of the “BEST” gifts you can give. Giving them a chance to spend some “alone” time together will not only benefit them but your grandchildren. Let’s face it, raising twins isn’t the same as raising siblings of varying ages so they’ll appreciate the break. Another much appreciated gift would be to have the parent’s house cleaned with an eye on “environmentally friendly”. You could even offer to babysit for a couple of days, maybe while the parents stay the night in a relaxing getaway at least for the night, while the house and or carpet cleaners do the tasks the parents simply don’t have the time to do.
Respect their parenting style
Another important thing to remember is to respect your child’s parenting choices. You might not always agree with their philosophy when it comes to parenting, things like child care methods or discipline strategies, but this is an important time to keep your opinions to yourself (unless they ask you for it). Trust that they know what’s best for their children.
Release your inner child
As a grandparent, you can let loose, turn back the hands of time and let your inner child emerge. After all, it probably feels like you’ve waited your whole life for this moment. Make messes, have fun, build a tent out of blankets, get crazy! Really getting into playtime with your grandkids is guaranteed to make you feel young again.
Creating opportunities to spend special “one on one” time with each twin on their own is incredibly rewarding for both grandparents and the child. Not getting to know each child individually is a missed opportunity and you can never go back. Take advantage of your special purpose as grandparent to encourage and develop each child’s unique personality. Nurture their interest in a variety of hobbies and activities, encourage conversation and make it fun and thoughtful.
Establish memorable rituals
Share special treats and activities with your grandchildren, especially things that mum and dad don’t have the time and/or the energy or desire to do. Come up with something special that only grandma does with them whether it’s going to a special indoor play area or outdoor park, late bedtimes or a favourite treat. For example, I make my grandchildren strawberries topped off with a bit of powdered sugar and cream (they always rave about grand mum’s berries and cream). Creating special times with your grandchildren will create a bond and make treasured memories.
Share the family history
All children can benefit from learning about the different generations, giving them a firsthand “peek” into their historical past. Learning stories of their grandparent’s lives and their ancestors unfolds a magical journey. Hearing true stories of days gone by offers a sense of comfort, continuity and belonging to kids of all ages.
Create a twin haven environment
Turn your home into a twin friendly haven and your grandchildren will be excited to visit. Start by childproofing your home, then designate certain areas for play so you don’t need to worry about anything important being damaged. Fill a kid friendly space with books, toys, etc., making sure that there are plenty to go around. If you’re on a budget, consider visiting consignment stores and thrift shops. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many you’ll find and most will be in great condition – just give them a good cleaning. You should also consider making your home environmentally friendly, especially when it comes to house and carpet cleaning products and services if isn’t already.
As a grandparent of twins, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s been the most rewarding experience in my life. I’m a firm believer in the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and this is especially so when it comes to raising twins. All grandparents can be a positive influence in their grandbaby’s life and the tips listed here can help.
Do you have any more tips to add to the list? Please share in the comments below.
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