How To Tackle Toddler Twin Rivalry

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Two-year-olds are delicious, fun, and hilarious. They are also aggressive, cranky, and frustrated at life. When you multiply that by two, you’re in for it. Most days, I sit back and watch my two-year-old twins and imagine they are drunk adults. Try it sometime. It helps. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the issue of having two cranky, frustrated toddlers with HUGE feelings. They have a lot going on in those rapidly growing brains and bodies. How do we, as moms of multiples, handle all those big toddler feelings when it comes to having two? Well, I’ve got a few ideas that may help you out!

Be a Mediator

Be the mediator for your twins, not the referee. You can do this by saying what you see as an argument is taking place. Jumping into a fight and immediately taking sides will only foster more aggression and frustration. 

Let me offer an example. My boys got into a knockdown drag-out over a big (plastic) shovel one day. Because, of course, they did. I sat quietly, watching as my more aggressive Twin B attempted to manhandle the shovel from Twin A. 

There was a lot of yelling, growling (I attribute this to twin language, because yeah it’s weird), tears and grappling at the shovel. The whole time I sat calmly next to them mediating. 

“Twin B, you really want Twin A’s shovel, you think that looks like a fun toy! Twin A you are mad B is trying to take your toy; you are playing with the shovel.” As the fight continued, I kept calm and kept saying what I was seeing. 

Eventually, the entire mess ended in a pile of giggling on the ground next to the discarded and forgotten shovel. Sure, it won’t happen this way every time. There are plenty of times when I have to step in and physically separate my twins, take a toy away, and put it on a shelf. But, sometimes mediation works!

Stop Physical Aggression By Doing This

Mediation aside, we have to intervene when someone might get hurt. Things inevitably get physical and ugly, someone throws a punch or a shove, and that’s when it’s game over. 

As calmly as I can, when things get physical between my boys, I put my hand/arm/body/glass of wine between my twins and say to them, “I’m not going to let you hurt your brother, that is not okay.” 

Sometimes I have to do this a dozen times, which is super frustrating when I’m trying to take a sip of wine amid toddlers throwing punches and screaming in my face. But hey, this is twin motherhood. It’s normal. And wine is important.

Buy Two!

No one ever claimed twins are cheap. There are a few items I will always buy duplicates of; for example, toy boats, tricycles, bikes, toy cars, and toothbrushes. Yeah, that’s right. Toothbrushes. 

Yes, our twins are individuals and have their own preferences. But, they are also toddlers. If I can eliminate a fight by buying two $5 toys, I am going to do it. There are certain items my boys would never fight over. I don’t have to buy double of everything, just some things. 

Take Turns, Set Time Limits

There are many times when my twins find a toy somewhere, and fights begin. This is when I employ the “take turns, set time limits” strategy. When there is an epic battle raging for one toy, I will let my twins know we will take turns. 

I will set a two-three minute timer on my phone. When the timer goes off, one Twin passes the toy off to the other. It takes a lot of monitoring and some mediation, but I’ve found this tactic can work really well.

Wear Them Out

When all else fails? Run. Them. Ragged. Did you know toddlers have more energy than endurance athletes? YES! They do. And mamas, that is why we are exhausted every night. 

I have two main objectives for my twins every day. Make sure everyone stays alive and make sure they are worn out. To do this, I’ll pull out all the stops if needed. I Set up an obstacle course, get them outside to chase a soccer ball or let them just run around the house or yard yelling like banshees. 

The point is that the more worn out our toddler twins are, the less likely they are to take their energy and aggression out on one another. Making sure they get plenty of opportunities to work out that endurance athlete level of energy every day will help everyone have a better day (and night).  

And maybe let’s mama have an hour of peace in the evening to enjoy a glass of wine that may have otherwise been spilled by sparring twins. Cheers!

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