Struggling with 5 year old twins(35 Posts)
I am really struggling with my 5 year old boy-girl twins and would love to hear advice/ reassurance from anyone who’s been in my boat!
They are just about to go into Year 1 and are very bright but their behaviour is really getting me down. As well as all the usual not getting dressed/ shoes on/ undressed for the bath, etc that would apply to most kids, they are just very naughty and because they are the same age and the same level of maturity I find it makes it worse as they each find the other one hilarious when they are doing something silly/ saying something rude.
- constant potty talk. I realise this is common at their age but they are always doing it at inappropriate times, like at the dinner table. I’ve tried telling them off, explaining why it is rude and we don’t do it, but still it continues and as soon as one starts talking about poo the other one bursts out laughing. They have recently learned some new words like ‘fart’ from school and keep saying them no matter how much I tell them off and protest.
- Meal times in general. As well as the potty talk they will do silly things like drop food into their drinks or play with food. The other one will think it hilarious and it’ll end with me threatening to confiscate things/ ban tv (I do follow through too) and generally getting a bit annoyed and fed up and them both laughing. I honestly feel ganged up on and close to tears sometimes (DH isn’t usually home at their meal times).
- Lots of showing each other their genitals and talking about them, etc. I’m sure this happens less with siblings who are same sex/ different ages?
- Being disrespectful to adults, ie climbing all over them, calling them poo-head, etc. Being told off seems to make no difference. Recently, a friend of DH’s was recently telling some other friends how naughty they are.
As you can see I’m really struggling with disciplining them and feel that them being twins and the same age exacerbates their behaviour. I’ve tried reward systems but it got to the point where if I asked them to do something they would ask ‘what will I get?’ and I don’t want them to only do things when there is something in it for them.
But I just end up with sanctions instead (confiscating toys/ no tv) but it doesn’t seem to curb the behaviour in the long run.
At school they appear to be well-behaved! One even got a head teachers’ award for impeccable behaviour! When I have them on their own (rare) they are so easy, it’s just when they are together.
Any help/ advice appreciated as I am struggling so much.
Are ours quads separated at birth? My b/g twins have just turned 5 and will start reception in mid Sept (summer born so we delayed them a year). They are exactly the same as yours, we are at the end of our tether with them. Worst thing is that I am an only child, I just don’t get this sibling silliness/competition/rivalry thing.
They drive me crazy.
Since they finished nursery a couple of weeks ago they have been even worse. My two need a very strong routine and to be properly tired to go to bed in good time and get a proper rest.
We tend to do separate activities at weekends with them if possible as together they are too much.
Sorry you are going through the same thing @Cornwall73. It’s bloody hard work.
Will yours be in separate classes at school or together? Mine were together in Reception but they are in separate classes in Year 1 and we are also moving them to separate bedrooms as they still share at the moment. Whether this will help remains to be seen!
They do separate activities on saturday mornings but apart from that they are together all the time, so maybe that’s part of the problem. They are going to bed very late at the moment but I’m hoping when they go back to school it will help as they’ll be more tired.
I’ve got a sister but there is a 3 year age gap - we did fight but never did any of the silly stuff they do!
I really thought that by age 5 having twins should have gotten easier, but obviously not!
Watching with interest as I'm starting to think my 6yo ds has an invisible twin sister! 🤣
Everything you've described he does.
I feel for you
I have a 2 year old and four month old twins. Although I have not had this experience yet with my twins my toddler has really tested me at times. His behaviour has massively improved recently.
I simply sat him down and had a conversation with him. That if he hits, says mean things (gave a few examples of bad behaviour) it makes mummy very sad. I reiterated this eveytime he did something quite serious, explained that it made me feel very sad. I would also say that if he had so many stickers that week on his chart he could have a treat it would always be something activity or time related never food or new toy related. This really worked. Swimming - the park- painting at home etc all good things.
At meal times I’d separate them so they aren’t too close together and try the reward chart idea here. At weekends is DH around? Make sure you have family meals and show them what is expressed. Stay very calm if they put food in drink don’t replace that food and make sure they know that you won’t replace it So they may feel hungry. They won’t starve until the next normal
Meal or usual stack time.
This may be worthless I’m no expert but I’d just like to say parenting can feel lonely at times and very hard but each stage and phase will pass
Take deep breaths xxxx
Watching and apologies for lack of constructive advice
I think a lot of this is just typical for that age plus then the twin winding up thing - I also have five year old boy girl twins. The girl will often egg her brother on to do something I just told them not too . What works best with ours is immediate consequences - e.g. if they mess with food or blow bubbles in drinks they get taken away. Also just treating the behaviour like it is the most boring babyish thing ever (hard as they can be quite funny).
I have 4. To an extent its sibling stuff (especially if their close in age) but I definitely found it more intense with twins (my youngest two) just because they are going through it at the same time and have someone to constantly play off. Its exhausting. They will grow out of it eventually.
We put some strict rules in place as it greatly escalated when they started school. No rude talk at the table - consequence was having to leave the table and eat alone when everyone had finished, had a couple of spectacular tantrums but then it improved greatly. We also announced 'calm times' such as reading, watching film together and again if anyone started being silly, then they couldn't join and would be removed, again some spectacular tantrums with a DT sitting out with me or DH while everyone watched the movie but now we can all watch a film, have storytime, meal times without endless ridiculousness.
I also don't normally post about the DC under this user name so if they ever see this (tech monsters) I love you DTS dearly!
Taking turns for our two is like red rag to a bull. Whose ever turn it is to choose a film or have a story read at bedtime is a guaranteed tantrum from the other. I have to negotiate everything inc who is out of the door first, who sits behind the drivers seat, who rides their bike in front, in advance and even then it escalates into hysteria. And whose ever turn it is to be ‘first’ is also a opportunity to goad the other about it. If you take away the privilege because of this behaviour = another tantrum. Just getting them to school takes 20mins instead of 5mins because of all the negotiating tine I have to build into the day.
I thought that by 5 tantrums would have subsided but they are as bad as when they were three. I work full time for the break!
My DTs are 6 and do EVERYTHING you all mention. We have a story Rota and a going out the door to the car Rota - we have even at one stage had a weeing before school rota to avoid pushing and wee all over shoes/clothes each other. Sigh.... at least its not just us then !!
Wierd sentiment but glad that we are not alone! It is really affecting my mental health though. I feel I am on the verge of a breakdown or bursting into tears on a daily basis. DD’s behaviour and sleep (but she has always been a bad sleeper) have been bad since finishing nursery in mid August. Now she has started school she is off the scale being over tired, aggressive, verbally abusive and an overall a pain in the neck. She is still up, three hours after her bedtime screaming the place down. I cannot cope.
Have you tried ignoring their bad behaviour?
Yes of course, I very much ignore bad behaviour and concentrate my attention on her twin but she wants a reaction so she then does something such as hit her brother or stand in front of the tv or wrap herself around your feet that you cannot ignore. We give her time out but she will not stay there.
Thing is DD is always pitching for a sanction due to being naughty so she can kick up a tantrum. They are monumental meltdowns which are very difficult to deal with. We have at least two a day if not more. None at school of course. Problem is that most of the time there is just one adult looking after the two of them so if she kicks off and is therefore stopped form going to the park for example this affects her brother too. She loves doing stuff that will have a negative impact on him.
She got her comeuppance yesterday though. DS asked for a lollipop and I said I’d take him to buy one as he had been so good all week. She stayed at home with DH raging because this little outing and treat was not extended to her.
They sound fun!
sorry if that’s not helpful
As with all ‘DC training’ I’d advise picking your battles. So ignore potty talk but come down hard on ‘show me yours’ behaviour. Explain the NSPCC pants rule and explain that it includes twins. They are close but they are not that close!
And be proactive. The mucking about with food and fart talk could just be an attention getting strategy. If they’re busy answering your questions about their day or putting their favourite Marvel characters in order they’ll not have headspace for such nonsense.
Oh gosh. My twins (boys) are almost 3 and currently monumentally hard work - I was really hoping it got easier!
Their behaviour caused a massive row between me and DP this morning - he just does not get that they can't stay in the house for more than an hour or two without starting to wind each other up and then scratching, biting, hitting - we do of course deal with that but I've tried to explain to him that it's easier to get them out of the house before that point, fresh air and exercise make them far nicer children. He doesn't seem to understand that they are constantly in competition for attention and would do anything to get it...
Sorry everyone is also having a hard time. Twins are a whole new level of hard work!!
It’s taken me five years to drum this into DH. If we don’t have a plan and are out by 10am everyday even if it is to go to the shop and back chaos descends!
LOL - thanks Cornwall - glad it's not just me!! 10am is my deadline too as the DTs are usually up and about by 8am latest. DP wants to enjoy a lie in and a lazy morning as per pre children days... in 3 years it still hasn't clicked that that isn't going to happen...
And about 2 hours is my limit for having them in the house before they start climbing the walls with boredom/ frustrated energy - again, DP doesn't get this as he's
too lazy bad at reading the pre-bad behaviour signs. No idea how we will cope with the winter months when it's dark by 5
To a PP who said their twins are fine when apart; mine too! So enjoyable. Makes me realise why some friends love being parents when I just find it a long, relentless, incredibly tiring slog!
OP, my DTs have shredded every last one of my nerves today. They are currently hideously overtired, screeching at me and each other, and I can't tidy up/ cook/ move without them squabbling and generally making me think longingly of pre-children days. I feel your pain!!
I find any one-to-one time that I can give my 2.5 year old b/g twins results in easier behaviour. Getting individual attention even for five minutes makes them more chilled.
It is very tricky to do it, especially during the week when DH is not around much, but it’s worth it. They are now used to the idea that they will get a turn each of one-to-one time with mummy and they mostly wait their turn. Best to stick them in front of the TV though just to be sure
I have ten year old twins. They are beautifully behaved now (just to give everyone hope!) but we have some testing times when they were little.
Twins give each other lots of positive feedback on bad behaviour so our method was to remove the offending child from the situation into a separate room if possible or just into a corner out of sight line of their twin for a telling off.
I always focused on specifying the unacceptable behaviour. Explaining exactly why it was unacceptable and reiterating what behaviour I expected on returning to the group and getting the child’s agreement to it.
There’s other simple things you can do. If they drop stuff in their drink, remove it from the table.
If they don’t behave well at the table then there’s consequence eg having to load the dishwasher/clean up. Lots of praise for good behaviour.
Out of all your list the thing I’d really focus on is their behaviour to adults. That’s not acceptable. They need to know it’s not cute, that it’s rude and that adults don’t like it.
If they can’t behave well then again take them out of the room/to the side to deal with the behaviour.
Remember eye contact, low very firm voice, no shouting. Be very clear about what is unacceptable and consequences.
It’s just about being firm, consistent and never ever giving in.
I totally get the feeling you describe. once my twins (+ close in age sibling) start getting silly and hysterical there is nothing I can do to stop it. they are 12 now and it rarely happens anymore but is still the same when it happens.
so in hindsight I would say the ages 5/6 were the worst and is definitely gets better with age.
I would also just walk away as much as possible and allow them to calm down as they are completely in their own bubble of hysteria and getting cross of trying to reason is pointless.
Thank goodness there is hope Happy!! The toddler years are tough anyway but when my two play off each other there is no hope of sanity..... they just wind each other up and up. I am currently putting a new bedtime plan in place as they are unbearably awful and I often end up shouting at them as I'm so fed up!
When we do get one on one time they are lovely and respond really well. Often though there's no chance to do it especially with DP working during the week
and being lazy at the weekends
I always thought I wanted three DC. Really not so sure now, don't think I could go through this again!
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