Worried that your non twin child will feel left out when all the attention is on the twins? Learn how to avoid excluding the non-twin siblings.
When I learned I was having twins, I wondered how my three-year-old would handle his new siblings. Welcoming one baby is hard enough, but two? With twins getting so much attention, I worried if he’d feel excluded as a sibling to twins.
We were mindful to foster a sibling relationship among them so our non-twin son doesn’t feel left out.
How we avoid excluding our non twin child:
Refer to the twins by their names, not as ‘the twins.’
You’ll hear me call my toddlers “the twins” on this blog, but in my non-virtual life, I call them by name. I do this especially in the presence of their four-year-old brother.
I’m hoping to lessen the divide between him and his siblings when I refer to them by their names instead. Even if I’m too lazy to say their names, I’ll say “the little kids.”
Don’t blame the twins for everything.
Don’t blame the twins’ need to nurse, for instance, on why you can’t play chase with your older daughter. Keep the blame away from the twins as much as possible.
Even if you can’t play because you’re nursing, phrase your response in a different way. “Let’s play after you have your snack,” you might say.
The less you “blame” the twins for why your eldest doesn’t have you to herself, the less she’ll resent them.
Foster a unified group among all the kids.
“My boys,” I’ll say to all three kids. I foster a unified group among all three of them, twins or not, by addressing them as a unified group.
Your non twin child will be different from your twins, but regard them as the group that they are. They’re the kids, the bunch, the little monkeys. They’re in this together. They eat at the same time, attend the same family events, and belong to the same “club” of being your kids.
Break the twins up for different outings.
Taking the twins out together is so convenient. You already have the double stroller, the car seats, and their diaper bag for the both of them. Or if your twins are older, they’re more likely to run errands than your younger singleton.
So if your family is like mine, the twins are together nearly all the time. The age difference just makes it more convenient to keep them together.
But once in a while, break the twins up. Recently, one of my twins needed a haircut. My husband took him to the kiddie salon while I hung out with my four-year-old and the other twin. We walked to the park and both boys got to hang out one-on-one with each other.
We felt a different dynamic. I could focus on just one toddler instead of two, and had more time to devote to my eldest as a result.
Share toys—don’t designate toys for the twins and toys for the non twin child.
You may be overlooking one of the main ways to prevent your kids from fighting: Sharing toys.
Never mind if a toy is better suited for a three-month-old. A three-year-old will find a way to entertain himself with that rattle or shape sorter. And assuming your older child’s toys are safe, he doesn’t have to keep his Legos to himself.
All toys are everyone’s toys (minus a few special ones here and there).
Because the less toys are “that’s mine!” and “he can’t have my toy!”, the more likely your kids—twin or not—will play together. And not divide themselves so much along age lines.
With twins, division among siblings is inevitable. As much as I address each by name and take them out alone or with their brother, they’ll always be “the twins.”
And if overlooked, this can come at the cost of the twins’ sibling feeling left out. Especially if he has no other sibling to pair up with—a fellow non twin child to relate to.
But with a mindful approach, you can be more cognizant of their sibling dynamics. Pay attention to them as individuals, not as a unit or as the non-twin. Foster a united group, such as sharing toys and not blaming the twins for everything.
Your twins will always be the twins. But before even that, they’re your kids—along with their non-twin siblings.
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