Everything is a mess and you are feeling less of a mother or father. Your twins’ toddler phase has left you overwhelmed, inefficient, stressed not to mention the emotional distance which has been created between you and your children. This is known as parental burnout. No parent wants to go through this and experience such hard emotions, yet in most instances, true to tales by parents of twins, it is inevitable. Parenting can be a stressful journey and the first step to preventing parental burnout is to understand the vital insights of what characterizes the twin toddler phase.
Insight number #1: Toddler development milestones.
The toddler phase kicks off at 12 months up to 36 months.During this phase, a lot of child development milestones are realized. Here isan outline of the toddler development phases. As twins are different individuals,their development milestones may vary. They will not be far off behind eachother either.
The twins can stand well with their legs apart and theirarms outstretched or placed overhead for balance. They can walk independentlyfrom one point to the other or with the help of a caregiver or furniture. Theyare yet to have an upright stance and they walk with wobbly steps. Their speechstarts to progress.
Able to finger feed themselves using a mature pincer grasp.When they spot an object they like, they point at it expressing their interest.
At this phase, they combine babbling and words in theirlanguage as they continue to learn more words. They can follow simpleinstructions and retrieve objects when asked by the caregiver. Emotional developmentintensifies and they identify with the emotions of their twin, immediate familyor people they come into contact with. A strong empathy starts to build andtheir twin bond matures to some extent.
They can build towers and scribble on paper, their grip onthe crayon is sloppy but good progress.
The motor skills improve and now they can run, seatthemselves in a chair and make a tower four cubes high. Their word count rangesbetween 10-25 words.
Possessiveness and the ‘mine’ phrase develops at this age.Through observation, the twins imitate adult actions like picking phone callsand hosting tea parties. The possessiveness may result in conflict as they donot want to share their toys and anything they label as ‘mine’ with others.
After doing the wrong thing, feelings of shame, guilt, andsadness follow.
Motor skills are further developed and they can throwobjects, kick a ball, draw circles and lines. At this age, they can undressthemselves independently though some children may need help. If one twin seesthe other undressing independently, they may try to do it too by copying theirtwin.
Investing in toddler gates will be of huge benefit astoddlers aged 24 months can turn doorknobs and get into other rooms. Curiosityis never enough at this age.
Their speech word count increases to between 50 and 200words and sentences have two words which are related but lacking a verb“Mommy, play.”
When you call out their name, they respond and may havestarted recognizing the names of immediate family members.
This is the final age before a child transitions into thepre-school age. Sentences have verbs and more words and basically, they canhold a conversation with you and their twins. They identify their gender aswell as that of others.
Socialization, creativity and individuality development takes root in this age. Learn how to identify toddler twin behavior here.
Insight number #2: Twin Toddlers Fun activities.
If you are to preserve your sanity and prevent parental burnout, you need to keep your toddler twins engaged in activities that help them grow and reach those development milestones while keeping everyone happy and at peace. Most toddlers will enjoy having an assortment of toys and chasing each other around while others would want to go for outing and epic child adventures. This can be taxing for parents without help and striking a balance can prove challenging.
Understand the personality of each twin and engage them inactivities that they best relate to. Where twins have different interests, helpwill come in handy. Have your partner take one twin to the park while engagingthe other twin in an activity that she enjoys. Below are activities that aretailored to develop hand-eye- coordination, color and shape sorting, fine motorskills and number practice.
1) Obstacle course. This is a great indoor game fordays when the weather inhibits play dates at the park. Create the obstaclecourse using boxes and blankets while making sure that everything is toddlerproofed.
2) Music and dancing. Your toddler twins will enjoysome upbeat music and dancing around a room. It can be made into a familyactivity to encourage bonding and teamwork.
3) Blocks and books. Children love to try things outand building the highest block tower will excite them. If they are havingproblems and reacting negatively to failure, divert their attention to anotheractivity and encourage them to try later. Picture and coloring books will evokecreativity and help a child to identify with their environment better.
4) Laundry basket rescue mission– this can be a powerful tool to foster a twin bond. You can have them retrieve toys for each other and as a means to solve conflicts and makeups after fierce competition and squabbles.
Insight number #3: Dealing with twin toddler temper tantrums
Tantrums are sure to lead you to a point of insanity whenwrongly handled. They are characterized by aggressive crying, kicking,screaming and in some cases breaking and throwing of closest objects. Twins arelikely to copy and escalate the behavior of each other leading to the infamoustwin escalation syndrome.
Tantrums are most likely as a result of stress, hunger, anda frustrating environment.
A child who is unable to express emotions is likely to have a meltdown of temper tantrums, especially in public unfamiliar places. When dealing with toddler temper tantrums, NASP recommends to;
1) Stay calm.
Shouting and trying to reason with a toddler in a tantrumstate will yield no result. It will only fuel the tantrum and everybody will befrustrated. Stay calm during this situation and let the tantrum wear off.You’ll be thinking more clearly when you are not screaming your lungs off.
2) Acknowledge theemotion.
Your child is likely to calm down when you acknowledge thebig intimidating emotion they are unable to express.
“You’ll build a taller tower with more exercise.”
“First times can be hard. You are doing great.”
Everybody craves reassurance and more so children. Try itout and see the wonders it works.
3) Manage thetriggers.
Tantrums are a result of different emotions, environments,and feelings that a toddler cannot relate to or express. Is it hunger duringshopping time? Try feeding your child before outings and activities.
New environment? Talk to your child and describe what theenvironment will be like. Point out features that will interest them to givethem a sense of familiarity.
Big emotions? Talk, let them ask questions and use fun waysof teaching about frustration, failure, conflict, and pain.
4) Consistency whendealing with toddler tantrums.
Appeasing a tantrum by granting a child’s impractical demandand shouting at them tomorrow will result in more tantrums. A consistent andfirm approach to tantrum management will give the child an understanding ofwhat is expected of them and reduce tantrum episodes.
Preventing Parental Burnout
Psychology Today says that twins have the same developmental needs as single babies, but the psychological situation of twins and their parents is more complex.” Parents have to divide their time, love and attention to two individuals with the same development needs yet distinct individuals. This is in turn a huge deal for parents to twins. How do one coordinate schedules, have time to take care of self and give time to her partner. To prevent parental burnout,
Taking care of your self is taking care of your child.Toddlers will need to recharge energy, love, and care from you. If your energyis 0%, then there is not much to offer your twin toddlers. Invest in a goodnanny and allow yourself an hour or two to rediscover your passions andinterests. Go out on a date, a spa visit or any other thing to recharge yourspirits. You’ll be guaranteed more energy and provide better care for yourbabies.
2) Focus on what matters most currently.
A line up of all chores that comes with raising twintoddlers can leave your head feeling heavy and your body longing for anextended vacation away from all parental stressors. Focus on what needs to bedone now and do it. You are not superhuman and multitasking everything isimpossible. Small goals and a task list will give a better insight of what isurgent.
3) Join a support group.
People who understand, people who care and help you reduceburnout will ease the stress of parenting. Join a twin community and reach outfor help before everything becomes overwhelming.
Parental burnout can be an unnerving and disliked situationwith detrimental effects on both parents and children. Nabbing it before itprogresses will guarantee that you can provide the care that your twin toddlersrequire and allow you some peace of mind. Understand the needs of your twintoddlers, develop a twin schedule for feeding, playtime, bathing, andactivities to give you more leeway when it comes to managing time. But most ofall, remember you are human too. Take a break and recharge.
- Make a list of your child's core strengths.
- Recall fun and funny times.
- Practice simple acts of kindness.
- Smile when he walks in the room.
- Grow your empathy.
- Touch base, literally.
- Frame your frustration as a puzzle to be solved.
- Allow yourself to feel what you feel.
In a sample of 1551 parents, we examined the relationship between parental burnout and seven possible consequences: escapism and suicidal thoughts, addictions, sleep disorders, marital conflicts, a partner estrangement mindset, and neglect and violence towards one's child(ren).How do you deal with burnout when you have kids? ›
Ms Gatland says those experiencing parental burnout need to lower expectations, take stressors away and add more resources — by accepting being a "good enough" parent, cutting back on commitments and learning to ask for help.What causes parental burnout? ›
Stress-increasing factors include:
Having a child with physical or mental health challenges. Perfectionism: feeling you need to be the “perfect” parent at all times. Lack of support from co-parent. Both parents working outside the home.
- Be honest and talk it out with people you trust. Once burnout takes hold, people tend to retreat and become isolated. ...
- Ask for help. ...
- Create routines. ...
- Schedule "me" time. ...
- Set boundaries. ...
- Monotask instead of multitask. ...
- Lower expectations.
Parental burnout is caused by chronic parenting stress, with severe symptoms and consequences. Being a perfectionist, less agreeable, and lack of social support are some primary causes. Adjusting expectations and putting relationships first can reduce parental burnout.What are the effects of parental conflict on child development? ›
Frequent, intense and poorly resolved conflict between parents can place children at risk of mental health issues, and behavioural, social and academic problems. It can also have a significant effect on a child's long-term outcomes. put children at more risk of: having problems with school and learning.What happens when parents are too involved in their child's education? ›
The researchers found a correlation between high levels of parent involvement when a child is focused on a task and children's difficulties with self-regulation and other behaviors. This was most apparent for children's “hot” executive functions.What is the best way to deal with burnout? ›
- Evaluate your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. ...
- Seek support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones, support and collaboration might help you cope. ...
- Try a relaxing activity. ...
- Get some exercise. ...
- Get some sleep. ...
- Track your stress levels. ...
- Identify your stressors. ...
- Create a habit of journaling. ...
- Seek professional help from a coach or therapist. ...
- Build a support network. ...
- Get enough exercise. ...
- Speak up for yourself. ...
- Learn stress management techniques.
Systemic concerns appear to play a large role in ECE burnout, with low pay, limited resources, low educational qualifications, difficult classroom dynamics, and stressful environments often mentioned (Gomez et al., 2015; Logan et al., 2020).What causes the most stress for parents? ›
Family stress examples
trying to balance work and parenting. caring for a new baby while trying to maintain previous responsibilities. relationship conflict. the time and scheduling burden of driving children to school, activities, and more.
Maslach's model includes three key components of burnout: emotional exhaustion; depersonalization; and, reduced personal accomplishment.What are 5 strategies to avoid burnout and reduce stress? ›
- Early recognition of burnout and related risks. ...
- Cultivate ability to self-reflect. ...
- Complete a periodic assessment and realignment of goals, skills, and work passions.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.
- Get enough sleep.
Common causes of burnout include: lack of adequate social support; taking on more than one can handle at work, school, or interpersonally with family and friends; and poor self-care.How can a mom be less overwhelmed all the time? ›
- Acknowledge What You're Feeling. The only thing worse than the bitterness you're feeling is the mom guilt that comes with it. ...
- Build a Community and Ask for Help. ...
- Clear Your Plate. ...
- Practice Gratitude. ...
- Prioritize Self-Care. ...
- Wake Before the Kids. ...
- Don't Compromise Your Sleep. ...
- Spend Time with Friends.
As a parent, you influence your child's basic values, like religious values, and issues related to their future, like educational choices. And the stronger your relationship with your child, the more influence you'll have, because your child will be more likely to seek your guidance and value your opinion and support.What are the negative effects of parental pressure on children? ›
Constant parental pressure creates defensive attitudes in children. They might develop unhealthy habits, injuries, and mental illnesses and grow into them. You should be able to identify your child's abilities and advise them on how to develop their talents.What are the 3 benefits of parent involvement? ›
Students whose parents stay involved in school have better attendance and behavior, get better grades, demonstrate better social skills and adapt better to school.What is the most damaging effect of parents being too hard on their children? ›
Kids raised with strict discipline tend to have antisocial behavioral problems such as rebellion, anger, aggression, and delinquency. Although some parents think that strict parenting produces better-behaved kids, studies show that such a parenting style actually produces kids that have more behavioral problems.
Left-behind children have a lower cognitive test score and academic test score, and they are also less likely to attend a college. In particular, a mother's absence seems to have persistent negative effects on children's development.What is burnout and how does someone overcome it? ›
Being burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don't see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress feels like you're drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a sense of being all dried up.What is a burnout plan? ›
Long-term employee burnout treatment plan
The aim of taking time off to recover from mental exhaustion and concentrating on the pillars of mental wellness is to allow a person to get back into a state of mind where they can then productively address the root causes of their burnout.
World Health Organization as a phenomenon caused by chronic stress at work, and cites four key indicating signs: Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; mental distancing from a job; feeling of negativity or cynicism towards professional duties; and a decrease in work efficacy.What are 5 common causes of stress for children? ›
- Worrying about schoolwork or grades.
- Juggling responsibilities, such as school and work or sports.
- Problems with friends, bullying, or peer group pressures.
- Changing schools, moving, or dealing with housing problems or homelessness.
- Having negative thoughts about themselves.
A national WebMD survey found that parents rate school and friends as the biggest sources of stress in their kids' lives. The survey also found that 72% of children have negative behaviors linked to stress, and 62% have physical symptoms linked to it, such as headaches and stomachaches.What are examples of parental stress? ›
Parental stress can come in many forms such as financial troubles, lack of social support, or it can stem from problems within the marriage. Stressors adversely affect the general well-being and health of parents and demand attention and emotional energy from them.How do I stop being overwhelmed by parenting? ›
- Change your perspective. People sometimes experience anxiety after letting their worries take over. ...
- Give yourself a safe space to express feelings. Writing―in any form―is a powerful way to lower stress and develop a more resilient mindset. ...
- Give back. ...
- Practice what you preach.
- Stop trying to please them. ...
- Set and enforce boundaries. ...
- Don't try to change them. ...
- Be mindful of what you share with them. ...
- Know your parents' limitations and work around them — but only if you want to. ...
- Have an exit strategy. ...
- Don't try to reason with them.
- First, determine whether your parents are *actually* toxic. ...
- Understand that typical boundaries are disrupted when dealing with toxic parents. ...
- So, how do you deal? ...
- Have a plan of action and a support system you can rely on. ...
- Remember to give yourself permission to say “no”
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity is a powerful short-term stress reliever. ...
- Eat well. Eating a poor diet can aggravate your stress response. ...
- Practice mindfulness. ...
- Try relaxation techniques.
A connect and redirect response could look like this: go near your child and say something like “You seem upset” in a comforting tone. Go down to their eye level, make them feel comfortable, and listen to what they have to say. They will feel supported and talk through their anger.How to take care of a toddler? ›
- Encourage your toddler to explore and try new things.
- Set up a special time to read books with your child and do it often.
- Play matching games like shape sorting and simple puzzles.
- Explain in simple terms how things work.
- Encourage pretend play with your child.
There are two main forms of parental pressure: direct pressure and indirect pressure. Direct pressure often involves yelling, force, or complaining. Indirect pressure may involve guilt-tripping your child or reminding them of rigid expectations.What are signs of toxic parents? ›
- They're self-centered. They don't think about your needs or feelings.
- They're emotional loose cannons. They overreact, or create drama.
- They overshare. ...
- They seek control. ...
- They're harshly critical. ...
- They lack boundaries.
- Limit your time with toxic co-workers.
- Put boundaries in place.
- Create a relaxing environment.
- Release negativity.
- Focus on what's important.
- Create an emotional place of safety. ...
- Avoid getting trapped in unhealthy conversations. ...
- Don't get sucked into the drama. ...
- Take care of yourself first. ...
- Be proactive with your time. ...
- Seek professional help if necessary.
- Set boundaries with your parents (and enforcing them!)
- Accept the guilt (and live with the discomfort)
- Don't try to change them—change what you can control.
- Take care of yourself first.
- Surround yourself with supportive relationships.