Twins will always share a special bond, no matter how it might seem at times to their parents. For many parents of twins, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to raise two well-rounded individuals with their own unique personalities. But when they have this natural bond, what can you do as a parent?
Thankfully, there are some simple things you can do to help each kid become their own unique personality.
It sure is cute to have two little copies of a child at home, but research suggests that twins who were raised as a unit had more difficulties separating from their siblings than twins who were treated as individuals. So how can you give love to your twins yet give them a chance to become unique people?
Give them different names
Will and Jill and Emma and Ella may sound adorable for your twins. The thing is, this matchy-matchy name choice may inevitably mean pushing the notion that your twins are part of a set instead as opposed to separate people.
This can make it difficult for them to differentiate between their individuality. Additionally, try not to refer to them as “the twins”. They have wonderful names all their own that deserve to be heard. This will help everyone think of your kids as individuals.
Sharing is not always caring
Kids are always taught to share. Sharing is an important skill all socially developed individuals have and cherish. However, while all kids need to share, twins are probably asked to share twice as much as their peers.
Why? Well, in general, they have more opportunities to share since they spend almost every moment with their sibling. While it’s great that they love to play together or nap in the same bed, they shouldn’t always be required to share. It’s very healthy to provide each of your children with something that will be distinctly theirs and theirs alone, so they can have complete control over something in their lives. This helps kids develop a healthy sense of self, which is especially critical for twins.
If you have an opportunity to provide twins with separate rooms or at least separate spaces in one room, this can be great for building their individuality. Your child should have the freedom to organize their space and decorate to their wants and needs. Make sure to protect their space from unwanted intrusion from the other siblings. It might sound harsh, but it’s very healthy.
Dress them differently
The cuteness factor here goes through the roof! Twin babies dressed up in matching outfits from head to toe will receive a lot of attention when walking down the street—and who doesn’t love attention. While you can practice this when they are very little, it’s smart to stop dressing your twins identical once they turn three. This is where kids start to develop their preferences and build their identity.
As they grow, you can encourage them to go shopping with you so they can pick up their own outfits and show off their individuality. Sometimes, they might even choose to match on purpose or they will do so on accident, but other times, they will certainly want to have nothing to do with their brother or sister—that’s just how siblings work!
Humans always compare things automatically. After all, you probably have every kick and every ultrasound of Baby A and Baby B to compare. And sure, since you have twins, you can expect them to be similar in certain things, but making too many comparisons might leave unwanted scars and even build up self-esteem issues and resentment.
Encourage separate activities
There’s a great possibility that your twins will attend all the same classes, but there’s one thing you can do to keep their school experiences unique: extracurriculars. While it might be some extra work for you as a parent, allow them to sign up for different activities or sports. This will allow your kids to find their own spots in the team, prevent comparisons and get them to excel in something without their brother or sister.
Separating your kids also prevents them from becoming too dependent on each other. Of course, make sure to encourage support from siblings and celebrate all sporting successes as a family. If you need some help with transport, see whether you can arrange something with fellow parents.
Spend some one-on-one time
Ask any twin to count all the times they spend some quality time with parents without their twin siblings, and they will be stumped. So, don’t make the same mistake as every other parent. Take one of the twins to their favorite restaurant or have a parent-and-kid spa day. This small gesture will make them feel super special and encourage them to share and open up.
If you have other singleton kids in the family, arrange separate times for each twin to spend with the non-twin siblings. This is one of the best ways for other people to notice your twin’s individuality and discover things that are special and unique for each of them. And don’t be surprised if your children want to spend separate times with different groups of friends. When you think about it, it’s pretty normal that two different people get along with two different groups of peers.
No matter the confusion and disadvantages, most twins wouldn’t change their situation for anything in the world. With some help, your children will become beautiful individuals with a healthy relationship with their siblings and other people around them.
These are just a few simple steps you can take to ensure the development of your twins as individuals. By taking the time to cultivate them as both a sibling set AND their own people you will help set them on the path to being the wonderful people they are meant to be.