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Even the most basic tasks -- feeding, bathing and putting more than one child to sleep -- can be daunting when the babies are small. Setting up routines is helpful to parents and children equally because everyone knows what to expect, says Herbert Collier, Ph.D., a child and family psychologist and author of The Psychology of Twins: A Practical Handbook for Parents of Multiples (Twins Magazine).
Then, when tackling each task, keep it simple, says Elizabeth Noble, author of Having Twins (Houghton Mifflin). Nearly all parents of multiples have tried separate bowls of baby food with separate spoons only to find that by the third bite, everything is mixed up again. Feeding the children from one bowl of food with one spoon is best because they're sharing germs anyway, Noble says.
Parents should consider putting their multiples in the same crib or in a family bed and bathing them together with a parent, if there's any space left in the bathtub. Both eliminate extra steps, such as changing more bedding and bathwater, and help to build family bonds. "The security of keeping the unit together is very important for young children," Noble says.
Even when chores are kept as simple as possible, the work is still daunting; Noble advises parents to get help. Teens after school or a neighbor who adores being around children might love to lend a hand for nominal pay.