Going out and about with multiples can either become a smooth process or a torturous one depending on how prepared you are. Whether you have twins or not, odds are that at one point you will have to deal with an awful temper tantrum. Even worse, you may have to deal with two or more at the same time! Yes, after one public meltdown you will want to hide yourself and your family in your home for years to come. From someone who has actually thrown her hands up, looked onlookers in the eye and said, "Yes, they're all mine," referring to her tiny examples of twin terror, here are some tips from an experienced Mom of multiples.
You know it's coming. You feel it the moment the whining starts, or right after you say “no.” You can see the look in their eyes as the whole process begins. Your child is frustrated and needs a way to let it out. Find a way of moving their attention from one thing to another. Do not use a high pitched voice, just speak normally. Look at them in the eyes and show them something else they'll need to analyze for even a moment, even if you're not planning on buying it. Just shift their focus away from something other than what they are upset about.
I always find that sometimes you need to anticipate the inevitable. Take snacks. Bringing something that might take a while to eat like chips, cereal (not flakes or krispies-no need for extra cleaning duty) or a bag of grapes is great. Take enough for you to get your shopping done before they're finished. It's also a great idea to bring along a noisy, portable toy. If you're afraid it will make too much noise, just think about the alternative.
If your child has a fit in a store, the best thing you can do is leave. Whether it's for a few minutes or for the rest of the day, sometimes a little fresh air is all they need. If more than one child is having a fit, it might be wise to leave your shopping for another time if nothing else works. Now, if one has a fit while the other is well behaved, it is very important that you a) not focus your attention on the child that is having a meltdown, and b) let the calm child(ren) know that you are very proud of them for behaving-and that they will get a special treat when they get home. This treat does not have to be something material; alone time with that child and a favorite book is acceptable if that makes them happy. The important part is to not acknowledge the other's tantrum. This is the best way to make that child realize that there are better ways to behave while you are out.
Have you just had a successful shopping trip with your multiples? Make sure to tell them how very happy you are about their behavior. Remember, children want your attention, whether it's good or bad.