Worried that your twins are getting lumped in together too much? Encourage individuality in twins to develop their unique personalities and interests.
Before my twins were born, I swore I wouldn’t dress them the same. “I want them to have their own personalities and not get clumped in as twins all the time. They’ll look too alike and others will forget they’re individual people.”
Well… come delivery time, my twins looked nothing alike. Even now at two-years-old, they’re as different as can be. One is tall, the other short. One has straight hair, the other wavy. One is tall and lean, the other short and round. And that’s just with their appearances. They also have their own personalities, favorite activities and food preferences.
I have it easy with my twins. They were born ahead of the game.
Encouraging individuality in twins
But regardless of how different they look, they’re bound to be lumped in as ‘the twins.’ I still want them to have their own sense of self. To feel whole just as he is without needing to be part of a twosome. How can parents encourage individuality in twins?
1. Spend one-on-one time with each twin
Your twins will spend almost every minute with each other. Not just staying at home or being out and about together. They do the same activities, from eating to sleeping to playing. Logistics makes it easier to ‘batch’ their activities.
You can switch things up by spending time with each twin. At home, snuggle with one child on the couch while the other is reading a book. Take one twin out for an errand while another adult stays home with her twin. We even had a single umbrella stroller so we could take them out one at a time.
Spending time alone with a parent is already recommended for any child with siblings. It’s even more important for twins to feel comfortable apart to bond with their parents.
2. Have your twins choose their own clothes
One of my good friends is a twin. She told me her parents didn’t always dress them in matchy-matchy clothes. Instead, they’d go shopping and ask them which clothes they liked. Their parents encouraged them to choose their clothes and establish their style and preference.
My two-year-olds are still too small to decide and shop for clothes or order from the menu. But we’ll ask them, “Which shirt do you want to wear—the yellow shirt or the blue shirt?” They’ll feel empowered with the ability to make choices and develop their own preferences.
3. Address your twins by name, not as “the twins”
On this blog, you’ll hear me refer to them as ‘the twins’ in my attempt to withhold their names online. But in my ‘real’ life, I call them by name, even if it takes longer to say or spell or write it out. They’re not “the twins” but unique people with their own names, lives and personalities.
4. Don’t assume your twins will like the same activities and toys
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My twins enjoy many of the same activities (soccer, cars and reading, for instance). But I’ve also seen each one develop his own interests. For instance, one of them likes coloring more than the other. Or one likes his lovey while the other could care less about it.
And this is just in toddlerhood. I think about how it’d work out if they went to separate colleges. Or if they wanted to participate in different activities in school.
Each of your twins will have his or her own favorite activities. They’ll enjoy similar interests, but don’t assume they should the same things.
5. Give your twins different gifts depending on their interests
Doubling up on toys to give as gifts? Consider giving different gifts for each child instead, especially based on their interests. Don’t buy the same fire truck twice. Get two different gifts they can share and play with or enjoy by themselves.
What works for one child may not appeal to the other. Giving them gifts to encourage their passion embraces their individuality.
By default, twins are lumped in together—there’s no avoiding that. Identical twins are even confused for one another from looking so alike.
Parenting twins include encouraging their individuality. Letting them choose their own clothes and interests. Address them by name, not just as ‘the twins.’ Don’t assume that what one likes, the other will as well. And spend one-on-one time with each child.
They’ll know they’re unique and wonderful the way they are. And not because their identity is tied to being a twin.
p.s. Are you struggling with getting your twins to sleep through the night? My guide, How to Sleep Train Twins can help! Join my newsletter and download a preview chapter below—at no cost to you:
Get more tips:
- Simple Strategies to Take Toddler Twins Out Alone
- How to Avoid Excluding Your Non-Twin Child
- Twin Baby Registry Must-Haves
- How to Prepare and Care for Newborn Twins
- How Caring for Newborn Twins is Different from Singletons
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