by: Cori of Cori’s Big Mouth [http://corisbigmouth.com] Twitter: @cori_shelley
How Do You Do It?
After I was asked to guest post on Multiples & More, I sent out an SOS Tweet to some of my Twins+ friends around the world asking, what would they be interested in having a guest post written about? The question that caught my eye was how do you successfully take twins+ to a “mommy and me” type of class, when you’re out numbered?
Over my years as a nanny I’ve participated in many classes and activities with multiples including Gymboree Play & Music, Little Gym, KinderMusik, Music Garden, story times, etc. All of these classes I’ve always done on my own with twins or triplets. How do I do it? The same way you survive day after day…”I just do it!” I wanted to share some tips that I’ve learned that help make it much more doable!
1) Find a second person to go with you: If there’s any way to have a second person go with you, which makes things so much easier! See if you can find a class location near your spouse’s work, maybe they can pop over for the 45-minutes/week class! Or maybe you have a family or a friend who could come along with you. The weeks that I brought my little sister along, made these classes so much more enjoyable for everyone! Not to mention, each twin (or triplet) gets more one-on-one attention. I understand that, that isn’t always plausible, and the majority of the time I found myself going to them alone!
2) Talk to the activities director, instructor, etc. and see if they will help you with the other child(ren)? Many of the classes I attended the class teacher was happy to help especially during the “mommy and me” time to hold my second child while they danced and sang! This is a great option if your child is outgoing or knows the teacher well! I’ve had my share of kids who were beyond shy, and wanted nothing to do with someone other than me, however if you can get away with it, it’s definitely worth a try!
2) See if the program has a twins+ or siblings’ class: These classes are nice, because they’re designed around families with multiples and/or siblings close in age. They tend to pick activities that are great for one adult to do with multiple children. Which is different than a normal “mommy and ME”…aka ONE child class.
3) Get to know the other moms, dads and nannies in the class: This is important, when you need a sudden second hand! It’s nice to have someone you trust who can also help keep your kids safe! Life happens, Twin A is on one end of the class, while B is on the other, kids have accidents, diapers need changing, timeouts need to be sat-out, etc. – sometimes you need a friend to help you out! Getting to know some of the other parents or nannies in the class can you give you piece of mind if you need some assistance!
4) Have a “child of the week”: With most sets of multiples I’ve worked with, they tend to stay close to each other, so that makes it easier to work with both kids at the same time, but if you have an adventurous duo or trio, the child of the week comes in handy! For more active classes, (Gymboree, Little Gym, Toddler Pre-School, etc.) I will do just like it sounds, switch back and forth between kids on which one would get more of my attention in class that week. As much as I want to, there’s no way I could be on top of two or three children at the same time with them running around having fun. Don’t get me wrong, I keep my eyes on both kids, but I tend to spend more quality time with the “child of the week”, working with them on the tasks and skills being taught that week.
5) Music/Snuggle Time: Most toddler classes have some sort of music and “snuggle” time with your child. This is when you just need to find your eight arms and do the best you can! You’ve cared for multiples long enough to know, you just do it! I know I can pick-up and dance with two kids, the third one often will either hang on my legs or wait his or her turn. The plus for you, is this is a fantastic WORKOUT! I always leave classes sweating and feeling like I’ve had a great gym workout! For those of you who do Gymboree with multiples know what I mean … The Noble Duke of York song is quite the workout when you have three- three year olds on your legs that you have to flip-over…it’s a work-out!
6) Any Thing You Can Give is Great: Multiples are born with the knowledge that, they just have to wait at times. It’s in their DNA and they’re accustomed to it, so it won’t come as a shock to them when you start a class! Do what you can do! If all you can do is, get the kids to the class and then sit by the gate/door and make sure they stay safe that’s great! If you have the ability to get in and play with them, that’s even better! Do what you can do! The fact that you’re giving your children the opportunity to interact with other kids outside of their immediate family is important for multiples at this age.
7) Get out and TRY IT! Most of these classes come with a free trial class. Take a deep breath and give it a try! You’ll be amazed at how great it feels to get your kids involved in classes and interacting with other kids! The thought is daunting, but the payoff is amazing! It will be well worth it, in the long run! Not to mention the energy they’ll burn will almost guarantee you a great nap!
That’s the advice I have to give. I know that there are far more experienced parents and nannies out there and I would love to hear more tips and ways they tackle these classes! I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say!!