Anyone who’s seen me lately knows I’m tired (probably just by looking at me!) I honestly didn’t think having twins was that hard, until they learned to walk. Chasing them around now is exhausting, and if you look away for a second they’re into something dangerous. There are a lot of things that I’d do if I had one baby, but can’t physically manage with two. They don’t want to be in a stroller anymore, but the second I let them out they’ll run opposite directions. Since we feel like we are constantly in survival mode, if there’s anything that can give us a break for a few minutes, we’ll take it!
Here are a few hacks keeping us sane (and they mostly have to do with containment! Ha!) These hacks by NO MEANS make me a good parent, but they keep my babies alive and keep me from going crazy – remember how I said we are in survival mode right now?
Ball Pit. My friend Carly thought of this one! She ordered these balls on Amazon and dumped them into our playard. I love the balls she picked because they don’t smash easily, and it’s actually been a great way for the girls to practice learning their colors. I periodically bring it out when I need to get something done (like make dinner) because I know they’ll be entertained and safe for a while.
Bury them. My friend Hannah actually started this at the beach, and we’ve kept it up! We dig a hole and bury them from the waist down. They’re at perfect height to play in the sand with their toys, but can’t run off. When they were little, this worked for longer periods of time. But now that they’re older and constantly running into the water, it’s nice to even have 5-10 minutes to sit on a blanket!! Just make sure you have a hat, sunscreen, and/or umbrella over them ;).
Highchairs. Of course we use our table high chairs for meals, but I didn’t think of using them for other things until my friend (and the girls’ sleep trainer) Melissa suggested it. She has twins herself, and said she used to stick her babies in their high chairs to read to them. I love doing this now, because they can’t fight over my lap or turning the pages ;). I’ve also started using them for other activities like drawing. A bunch of readers suggested these markers, which are awesome because they can’t color all over themselves or the counter. You also need to get paper to go with them. I just ordered these flash cards since they love their First Words books, so I’m excited to try them as well!
Gates and fences. We’ve fenced off our main living room area and made it a “safe zone” for the girls. We used this metal fence/gate, and I love that it adjusts to be whatever size you need. Since we have a smaller house, it’s also their play room, so they’ve got lots of toys in there, too. If we let the two of them roam free around the house, it’s serious chaos! Keeping them in that room, especially when I’m watching them alone, helps so much. Of course I still would never leave them totally unattended, but I can run into the kitchen and grab something or go to the bathroom without something disastrous happening ;). My friend Kaeli has taken this to the next level with a more portable version! She has this gate in her backyard and even brings it to BBQs or the beach. It creates a huge area for the babies to play in and although we usually end up sitting in it with the babies it at least gives us a chance to be together and chat!
Toy swap. That same friend Kaeli has a baby boy the same age as the girls, and one day she let us borrow a Little Tikes activity center. The girls played with it for hours that first day, and now that we’ve had it for a few weeks they still spend tons of time playing with it! If you’re a parent you know that kids love new toys, but once the novelty wears off they’re on to the next. And those “new toys” just accumulate and pile up! If you have friends you can “swap” with, do it! Another piece of advice I’ve loved is to rotate the toys. Since their main play area is our living room, I don’t want to keep too many toys out anyways. Periodically I’ll take half of the toys and put them in their closet, and then keep them on a rotation. When I bring the old toys back out a few weeks later, the girls are excited about them again!
Play dates. If you have friends with babies of a similar age, play dates are KEY! The babies love a change of scene, and if they also have a baby or toddler they most likely have safe areas for them to play. And again, the novelty of new toys is priceless! 😉
Blippi. Oh man…have you guys heard about Blippi? My girlfriends told me about him and we’ve developed a major love-hate relationship. But if I’m desperate – by myself with the girls and just need a minute – I turn it on and they are INTO IT. I at least tell myself there are things they learn from it (colors, shapes, concepts, etc.) and never let them watch it too long. My friend Sam (who was the first to tell me about Blippi) told me to get these tablets – you get such a good deal if you get two, they come in a kid-proof case, and the girls can watch shows/play games on them if we are desperate in the car or at a restaurant.
Snacks. Any parent knows snacks are crucial. There are a couple of snacks I know they girls LOVE and will respond to. I really try not to use food as rewards or bribery, but I’m definitely not above using it as a distraction!! 😉
I want to hear your toddler/baby parent hacks! Leave me a comment or a message!