Friday, May 14, 2010

Help! I can't get my twins to bed!

Rating: Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Timeliness Politeness 10 10 10 10 Comment: Thanks Kay - I will take your advice. I had always thought it important to maintain our current routine - as it makes everything easier with them knowing and expecting what comes next - they confrom to our current routine like little soildiers - until the lights go out.... Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback, I will follow up in the next few weeks. Questioner: Jessica Subject: Twin Toddlers bedtim Question: I have twin toddlers 2 and half year old girls. We cannot get them to bed. We have tried moving bedtimes, removing naptime, adding a bath for soothing. There are 2 main issues they share a room and therefore associate bedtime with playtime our house does not accomidate separate rooms. We cannot put certains up as they have destroyed 4 sets of blind and ripped all certains off the walls. so there room is always light (especially in the summer). We have tried taking one out of the room, to time her out for roudy behaviour but the twin left in the room feels as if she is being punished. We have removed all toys and stuffys, but jumping on and off there beds is an activity that can occupy them until 10pm-11pm each night. The second issue is biting at bed time any dissagreement between them results in a bite; they are brused all over there bodies, and I can't seem to get it to stop, I have tried biting the biter back (as suggested by many), timing out the biter (same issue as above - the other twin is being punished). I am really at a loss and I am don't know what else to do. We have tried everything tinkable. Note: We have a very established pre-bedtime routine that has remained the same since they were born (with additions and changes as they mature)jammies, teeth, reading time, relaxtime, warm milk, tuck in, kisses, lights out. Please help! Thanks Jessica Answer: Dear Jessica, I can imagine how trying these experiences are for both of you! First, it is easy when children present challenging behaviors to get into what I refer to as a negative pattern of interaction. That is to say where the parents are more focused on what is going wrong than what is going right. It is a normal occurrence and not something you are doing wrong. What I suggest is that you alter the routine. They obviously know what is coming next and maybe you need to shake them up a little bit. This is not my usual suggestion I think however both you and the twins need something new. Now this comes with a warning....you need to do the new routine for at least 6 weeks or longer before you will see positive changes! AND behavior usually gets worse before it gets significantly better. I suggest a journal each night after they are in bed asleep so you can compare one night from another say in about 6 weeks or over the course of the changes. Here is what I suggest. Step 1. Lower all stimulus in the environment at least a half an hour before their bedtime activities. This means the TVs go off, the radio's go off (radio's, boomboxes, ipod's whatever makes music goes OFF). Computers get turned off, electronics to OFF. Turn down the lights or anything you have control over in which there are lights. Calm down the environment at at least 30 minutes before you do anything related to bedtime. Step 2. If you bathe and brush teeth start here. Step 3. Reading of bedtime stories. Step 4. A nightly massage! Full body if they will tolerate full body massages. Step 5. (actually do this one before the massage now that I think about it). Get yourself a wonderful cd called Mother's Touch. It has heartbeats and soft earthy music on it. Start playing it when you start the massage....I know of no one who can listen to the whole cd without falling asleep. Lastly, document their daily activities. I think they are not getting something they are craving. They either have too much of one type of sensory stimulation (hence all the destructive behavior) or too little of another sensory stimulation (again the same result). Maybe they are more physical and need more physical activities during the daytime? Only you will know when you do a daily journal of their daily activities. Are they not being challenged enough with mental activities? or too much? The thing about children is that while they do develop on a "normal" timeline they also vary from child to child. What is too much stimulation for one child maybe too much for another. It is like coming up with a good recipe, individualized for each child's needs. Remember even though they are twins does not mean they are the exact same. Best wishes! M Kay Keller