Entertaining Twins During the Holiday Break

Of course, all families look forward to the holiday break when the stresses of school are put aside, but having the kids home from school offers new stresses. First of all, if you have to work, who will watch them? And if you work from home, how will you get anything done with the kids around? But most of all, how will you stave off the inevitable “Mom, we’re so bored!”? If you celebrate Christmas, you’ve got a few days in which the kids will be occupied with their gifts, but then the video game is mastered and the Barbie doll loses its novelty, and suddenly the kids have “nothing” (or so they say) to do! If your twins are in separate classes, they may at first enjoy this extra time together, but as time passes with too much togetherness, they are likely to squabble and get on each other’s nerves. So how can you keep your sanity?

– Make it a “must” to get out of the house every day. Of course, it can get expensive if you’re going to a movie or other attraction each day, but even going to the park, taking a walk, heading to the mall, going sledding (or to the beach if you live in the South) can help break up the day. Much of a family’s discord results from being stuck in the house with each other all day, so plan those outings.

– Work in quiet time, too. Pick a time of day when you most need to get things done (make dinner, do laundry, etc.), and let the twins know that this is “quiet time.” They are to read a book or watch a movie, but the important thing is to let Mom and/or Dad do something on their own. You might even want to consider having your twins spend this time apart. A reward for a good “quiet time” might be the aforementioned “outing,” but be careful what you promise in case they misbehave. If you have to give up your time out of the house, you’ll be back to hearing, “Mom, we’re bored!”

– Enlist help from other families. Arrange with another parent to trade kids for a day. You take her kids for a day, and she takes yours for another. This gives you a free day, plus fresh entertainment for your twins on another day.

– If you have grandparents or other relatives nearby, this is a good time for the kids to get to know them. Ask Grams and Gramps to take the kids for an afternoon. Perhaps they can do something special together, like go for ice cream.

– Do some community service together. Good deeds abound before the holiday, but charitable work is often put aside when the holidays are over. Look for opportunities in your community or through your religious institution for your family to volunteer during the break.

– Save some gifts for after the holidays. Kids sometimes get overwhelmed by the big mound of gifts on Christmas day. Put some gifts aside and dole them out every few days during the break. For instance, if you’ve bought them three music CDs, wait until they’ve tired of listening to one before giving another. Same goes for video games, movies and books.

– Cook together! You’re probably all tired of cookies, but enlist your kids’ help in making pizzas together as a family or putting together tacos.

– Have the kids write thank-you notes for the gifts they received. Children should be taught to appreciate the time, effort and expense that others expended to buy gifts for them. Be sure they write a “thank-you” to their grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.

– Let the kids “disassemble” Christmas. Make it a game to match up each ornament with its very own box. Let them take down the tinsel and garland, and pack it away. (But leave the lights on the roof to an adult!) Ask your twins for suggestions on how to rearrange the room now that the tree has been put away or discarded.

With a little advance planning, the holiday break with your twins can be a time of relaxation and fun. And make sure you, as a parent, get some “down time,” too! Even if you have to work during this time, try to take at least a day or two to be a kid again.

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About Susan Heim

Susan M. Heim is an author and editor, specializing in multiples, parenting, women’s and Christian issues. Her books include "Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power"; "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More"; "It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence"; "Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons"; and, "Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year." Upcoming books include "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women," and "Moms of Multiples' Devotions to Go." Susan's articles and essays have appeared in many books, magazines and Web sites. She is a member of the National Association of Women Writers and the Southeastern Writers Association, and has a degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. Susan lives with her husband and four sons (two teenagers and twin grade-schoolers) in Florida.