Dads – we don’t often hear from them, yet their perspectives are often valuable and wise. This time, we speak with LOVE 972 DJ Kenneth Kong, who is a father of three, including a pair of twins earlier this year! He shares how he copes with parenting three children, on top of his work, and the positivity of dad life.
Speaking to DJ Kenneth Kong on Fathering Twins and a Preschooler
Congratulations on your twins! How has dad life changed with the twins?
Having twins brings undeniable joy to the whole family. We all knew we must be more prepared for this, though this is the second time we are expecting. Yet, double the joy, comes triple the work, as my eldest, Kyler, was just slightly over four years-old, all three kids needed humongous attention.
I know it does not sound right, but the silver lining we’ve got from this COVID-19 pandemic, is more time dedicated to the kids. Looking back, handling a singleton is very much a breeze as compared to taking care of the twins.
Night duties? I am all game. But when the twins got hungry together, or if they decide to take turns, that was a lot to take in. I am grateful that my pace slowed down, I have had my weekends freed up, and my wife has been working-from-home, the pandemic gave us with the breather we would not be enjoying if things were business as usual.
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How have you managed the transition from one child to THREE?
Honestly, getting from one child to three, is really a huge leap. When we were told that we will be expecting twins, the first thing on my mind was space management. How should I house them?
The consideration back then was, how to make sure Kyler has uninterrupted sleep, as he is already a pre-schooler. How are my wife and I able to be close enough to stay responsive to the twins’ cries?
Secondly, the human resources management. Though we had blessings from my mother-in-law to be the babysitter, we still needed to hire our domestic helper, which are both wonderful pillars of caregiving.
Thirdly, time management. My wife and I worked out many scenarios and plans, matching our work schedule, as well as Kyler’s lessons.
Lastly, emotion management. No one can reason with babies, but you have all the reason to go haywire when two babies go off like a broken siren. Meanwhile, a four-year-old is yearning for attention too! There you have it, the perfect storm is building up. But losing our tempers just does not help. We spent time to manage everybody’s expectations, and accepted flaws and imperfections as it is.
What are your three top tips in parenting multiples?
Wow, there is so much that I would like to share. But if you really need me to break it down, here are the more important ones.
Prepare your elder children.
Kyler is our first born. He had our undivided attention for 4 years, before two more siblings came to share. We felt that he deserved to join us in the journey welcoming his siblings. We got him to talk to mummy’s tummy, buying baby stuff together, tell him what will happen during the day of delivery, and explained to him all the impending changes. We even sought his opinion in naming his siblings.
Attend to your elder children first.
No matter how old your elder children are, they are more developed in emotion and self-regulation for sure. They need your guidance to accept the new changes and new members. Parents will expect the elder ones to be more independent and well behaved, but that will not happen magically.
When Kyler seeks attention, even if the twins are crying, I will listen to Kyler’s needs, acknowledge his needs, give him a reason to wait and clear instructions on what to do while waiting, then fulfil his needs as soon as I am available.
Do not forget to show your appreciation to his patience. You should view your elder children as your teammates, rather than always fighting for airtime with the new-born.
Universal house rules
One of the things that I am incredibly careful about is setting boundaries and house rules. Before the twins arrived, we had already set rules for Kyler, e.g. how much TV time he will get.
It’s easy to shift boundaries when, you give in to seek an easy way out; or you set stricter standards when you think you should punish them. Or worse, the younger siblings have privileges the elder one don’t. The kid will feel betrayed (that was what I felt when I was a kid, LOL). So, I always remind myself, not to set different standards.
What are your daddy duties like? Which activity do you enjoy most as a father?
I am crowned the “Entertainer” in my family. Daddy is the one goofing around, suggesting silly games and activities, plan trips and outings and more. My joy comes in many forms, if it puts a big smile on my kid’s face, my job is done, and it’s worth a million dollars.
We decorate cupboard houses, shoot the hoops at basketball courts, catch Pokémon around the island, build tons of Lego sets. When I see Kyler having fun, learning, growing stronger both physically and mentally, I feel accomplished.
Any dad-to-dad advice?
Try not to compare. Bring out the kid in you and re-explore the world with your kids. Besides paying attention to the kids, remember not to neglect the wife. I do not think we will ever reach an equal share of load when it comes to parenting but going down that rabbit hole will drag everyone down.
Be good to yourself, happy wife, happy life!
Any favourite places to bring your children to on a Little Day Out?
The world went into the pandemic soon after my wife ended her four months maternity, sadly, the twins did not get to hang out outdoors much. Even if we choose to roam in large malls like Jewel, we did not linger.
For Kyler, we love to let him sweat it out! Be it cruising on his scooter or skateboard at parks, enjoying the heights at playground, losing himself in indoor parks (which is not possible under pandemic measures), he loves to move around. He mixes well with the others, he can quickly hit it off with other children, and enjoy the company of other playmates.
But if you ask Kyler where we shall go during weekends, high chance the answer will be, the Zoo! Kids and animals – it’s a magical bonding.
Fathering Multiples is Not Easy, but So Much Joy
We love Kenneth’s joy that is so evident from sharing about his dad life.
Thank you Kenneth for the advice and your optimism. If you would like to hear more from Kenneth, catch him on LOVE 972 on weekdays from 5 to 8 pm.