Friday, August 7, 2015

Twin Big Kid Boot Camp | Moving Twins to Separate Rooms

Hi!  I’m Lauren.  Mom to almost four-year-old boy/girl twins, Bryn and Ryan.  Having opposite gendered twins, I (obviously) knew they wouldn’t share a bedroom forever, but pregnant me sure thought that I would leave them together as long as I possibly could.  Because they are TWINS, duh.  They would basically not be able to survive without being attached at the hip.  

Most parents of multiples find it convenient to establish a single nursery for their newborn twins.  One bedroom houses all the cribs; one closet contains all the clothes.  Logistically it’s a wonderful solution for babies.  However, as the children grow up, many parents begin to weigh other options.  Particularly around the toddler years.  

We had thrown out the idea of splitting the twins up no short of a bazillion times in their first two years of life.  Mostly in the middle of the night, naturally.  I had a great sleeping child in my daughter (who has turned into my not-so-great sleeping child) and the sweetest little boy who just loved to get up early.  Like rooster early.  Our conversations about splitting up their rooms had very little to do with them waking each other up.  That hardly happened.  It was totally selfish.   I wanted to be able to make noise, close the door, and walk out of whatever kids room it was without  ‘almost’ unleashing the second twin.  Because my kids have middle-of-the-night parent radar.  I swear that’s a real thing.  

Enter Mother’s Day 2013.  My daughter woke up in the middle of the night sick after eating too much junk (because Mother’s day, so lots of cake) Projectile.  ALL over the floor of the nursery.  With her Brother still soundly sleeping in the next crib.  Obviously nobody in their right mind would want to wake up a second child at 2 am, so we did what any sane (or twin) parent would do.  We cleaned up throw up with a flashlight.  

And End Scene

So we decided that once they were out of cribs would separate them into their own rooms (and for the record I am team #cribsforlife) I mean listen, I love a good challenge.  But attempting twins in big kid beds in the same room was not on my bucket list.  And anyone who has successfully navigated that situation is my hero.  Seriously.  

We sold our first home in 2014 and built our new home that would be ready just a few short (ahem, 7 months) later.  This meant toddlers in an apartment for 6 weeks.  No thank you.  The first night in the apartment they FREAKED because their cribs were not on the same wall like they were in their room.  Sweet.  Being in separate rooms should go well.  #not

So we started a plan.  First potty train in the apartment.  Because DUH.  Second, talk up the new rooms all day.  Every day.  We brought them to the new house a bazillion times when it was being built and they got to visit their new rooms.  We planned.  And got excited.  And exaggerated the heck out of how much fun it would be to have their own space.  They were totally involved in the planning and designing of their rooms.  Nah, I’m kidding.  They were 2.5.  They picked colors.  From a choice of two.  I’m no fool.

The day we moved in, we were ready for the split.  For the first time in their short life, their cribs were in different rooms.  Cue the tears.  But I was so excited. They came home from school and LOVED that their things were in their own rooms and were so excited about everything.  At bedtime, they gave one big “see you tomorrow, love you” to each other and that was it. The easiest transition of their little lives.  

Looking back, our transition had a bit of luck on its side with the timing of our move.  Everything was “new” so one twin didn’t feel like they were leaving the space that was familiar to them.  Both had a new environment.  

If you have thought about splitting up your twins bedrooms, my advice is simple.  DO IT.  Involve them in the whole process.  Talk about it for WEEKS, if not months ahead of time, and help them make the space their own.  Twins thrive on routine, so preparing them ahead of time should ease the transition. Every family is different, and every set of multiples share a unique bond.  Toddlers can be very sensitive to change and separation, so be sure it doesn’t feel like a punishment rather than a privilege.  The presence of their brother or sister may be a comfort, and the separation may create even more disruptions. Tread lightly.  If you choose to establish separate bedrooms for your toddler twins, time the move carefully to avoid conflicting with other lifestyle changes, such as potty training or starting preschool.

Our twins love the extra 1:1 time that they get at night before bed.  My Son likes to read 382 books, and my daughter likes a few last spins around the room with Elsa before being tucked in.  They can each enjoy those things and nobody is upset.   

We split them into their own rooms a little over a year ago.  We transitioned to big kid beds two weeks after they moved into their own rooms, and it was SIMPLE.  You hear that with twins never, right?  I promise it was.  Nighttime potty training was also a breeze because if someone’s sheets needed to be changed it didn’t need to be done by a ninja with a flashlight.  

Having our twins split into separate rooms is what works best for our family.  I know everyone has their own opinion about splitting up twins, but for us it WORKS.  Really well.  My kids tell me stories at night, and neither has to fight for the spotlight. They thrive in their own space and are so prideful of their individual rooms.  They still choose to read and cuddle together before going their separate ways at night.  They giggle and whisper and I am reminded every day that their twin bond is still very alive and well.

If you have any questions, email me! (I promise not to have answers, but I am excellent at idea sharing)

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