The new parenting book teaches adult balance and encourages child independence

Don’t let the title of this book fool you. While Stephanie Wu is a mom to twins—hence its title, Raising Your Twins—this book applies to raising any children, whether one or more. Realistic parenting tips as well as advice on how to maintain your relationship with your wife (her husband even chimes in in his own section on the subject) will give you more than enough advice to keep you busy being a better parent, and part of it involves learning how to not get distracted by finding some time for yourself after teaching your kids how to entertain themselves.

Throughout the book, Stephanie uses her twin daughters, Brooke and MacKenzie, as her primary examples, including many photos of them showing off their eating skills, playing with cell phones, and how she sets up play and nap areas for them. But raising twins is more than the parenting experiences of a single mom. Stephanie comes from a family of child care educators. Her mother is a Montessori teacher, runs five Montessori schools in Taiwan, and Stephanie is herself an AMI Montessori certified teacher, so Stephanie included a lot of Montessori tips in addition to her mother’s advice on raising children.

What really struck me about Raising Your Twins is the common sense, out of the box, and forward thinking that Stephanie displays in discussing how to raise her twins, especially in terms of teaching them how to entertain themselves.

Stephanie divides the book into different chapters, including: Eating, Sleeping, Moving, and Keeping Babies Busy, and then these chapters are divided into sections by ages or developmental stages of babies, such as 0-3 months, 3-10 months, or 11+ months, depending on the topic. This segmentation is useful because it allows parents to anticipate their child’s next stage. As a bonus, Stephanie includes a shopping list at the end of each chapter so parents know what they’ll need to buy when their kids are older, and it covers ages from birth to three years old.

All of the advice in this book has been proven and tested. Stephanie herself attests, “I’ve experienced extraordinary results. My girls started sleeping twelve hours a night at ten weeks old. They were and always have been completely unafraid of water. They were drinking from a regular glass at eight months and could eat full meals on their own by twelve months.”

The most notable aspect of Raising Your Twins was its focus on helping children become self-sufficient. Stephanie suggests that this self-sufficiency is the purpose of the Montessori method, saying, “If we want to answer the question ‘What is a Montessori? In one word, we might look at the experience of Dr. Maria Montessori herself. One day, when she was working with children, one of the children said to her, “Help me do it myself.” This is Montessori. A Montessori child is not only given a fish, but taught to fish.” Stephanie explains that some parents may not want to teach their children to eat at such a young age because they think in time children will learn on their own, but Stephanie says:

“Personally, I don’t want to spoon-feed my kids until they’re six. I have kids so I can enjoy them, not so I can be a slave to them! And with twins, the point is even more relevant because there are two children, not just one! Thus, the attitude in our home is behavior that encourages independence in every possible way.”

One other point about self-sufficiency that I appreciated was Stephanie’s focus on teaching kids to be self-contained. This self-occupation can be achieved through simple methods such as you, the parent, changing the mobile phone in the child’s room every fifteen minutes or so to keep your child entertained and give you fifteen minutes to yourself. Stephanie also learned how important it is not to interrupt children during playtime or when they are engaged in any independent activity.

While I don’t have kids myself, I’ve watched plenty of friends raise their own and have babysitters for many hours so I can see how effective the tips and techniques in this book are and how easy they can be to implement if a parent is willing to put in the time and persistence. A little extra time now will buy a parent time in the long run. Most importantly, it will help your children become happier, less dependent, increase their self-confidence, and get them interested in continuous learning as they get older.

Raising Your Twins is a leading childcare book. I hope for the sake of all parents that Stephanie will continue to write more books as her daughters get older. She actually blogs about her daughters as they grow up, capturing their development in words and pictures on a regular basis.

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