Worried that your non twin child feels 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 then-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.
Even as they grew up, I was still conscious about the possibility of him feeling excluded. After all, his brothers were the same age and were interested in activities he didn’t particularly care for. I’m sure it didn’t help that he didn’t have other non twin siblings to relate to, either.
And the fact that he was older meant that he was often on his own and didn’t need our attention the way his younger brothers might. However normal it is for kids to be more independent, this could easily lead him to feeling excluded and uninvolved.
How to avoid excluding your non twin child
Twins get plenty of attention, whether from their parents or even strangers commenting about the two of them.
You might have an older child with twins like I did and are worried that he’ll feel left out or unimportant. Maybe your singleton came after the twins, and you don’t want her to feel like she can’t play with the “big kids.”
Because it’s easy to overlook the needs of a singleton when twins get so much attention. How can you foster a strong sibling relationship among them so that no one feels left out?
Take a look at the tips I share below. These are the lessons I learned along the way to ensure that my singleton doesn’t feel excluded for not being a twin:
1. Refer to the twins by their names, not as “the twins”
You’ll hear me call my younger two “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 older brother.
You see, hearing them called “the twins” could create a divide between the non twin child and the other two. The label also lumps the two of them together instead of nurturing their unique individuality whenever possible.
By calling your twins by their names, you reinforce that they are each special to you, including your non twin.
2. Don’t blame the twins for everything
Does your singleton want your attention right when you’re with the twins? Avoid blaming the twins as the reason you can’t spend time with her.
For instance, don’t say, “I can’t play chase right now because I’m feeding the twins.” Using the twins as an excuse—however accurate the situation might be—might build resentment in your singleton. Instead, 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.
3. Foster a unified group among all the kids
“My boys,” I’ll say to all three kids. I try to 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.
In other words, create a feeling of belonging to a family, regardless of whether your kids are twins or singletons.
4. Give your non twin child a few perks
That said, one of the best ways to ease the burden of being a singleton is to give your singleton a few perks he can enjoy. As difficult as it is to be the singleton of the kids, remind him that he gets special privileges as well.
For instance, if he’s older than the twins, let him stay up later than them to read (this also gives you one-on-one time with him). He could have the first choice during snack time, especially since he can fetch his own. Or he gets to go down the big slide because he’s older.
When being a singleton can feel rough, give him a few perks to remind him that he also has special privileges his twin siblings don’t.
5. 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, especially when it’s more convenient to keep them together.
But once in a while, break the twins up. For instance, one of my twins needed a haircut more than his brothers. My husband took him to the salon while I hung out with my singleton 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 one toddler instead of two, and had more time to devote to my eldest as a result.
6. Don’t designate toys
You may be overlooking one of the main ways to prevent your kids from fighting: Sharing toys.
Never mind if a rattle is better suited for a three-month-old because a three-year-old will find a way to entertain himself with it. And assuming your older child’s toys are safe, he doesn’t have to keep his building blocks to himself.
All toys are everyone’s toys (minus a few special ones here and there).
Because the less “that’s mine!” and “he can’t have my toy!” you hear, the more likely your kids—twin or not—will play together. They won’t divide themselves so much along age lines but instead gather because of their interests.
With twins, division among siblings is inevitable. And if overlooked, this can come at the cost of your singleton feeling left out, especially if he has no other sibling to relate to.
But with a mindful approach, you can be more aware of their sibling dynamics.
Pay attention to them as individuals. Foster a united group, especially when sharing toys and not blaming the twins for everything. Give your singleton a few perks he gets to enjoy. Address each by name (and not just “the twins”), and take them out alone or with your singleton.
Your twins will always be the twins, but before even that, they’re your kids—along with their non twin sibling.
Get more tips:
- Check Out These Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Twins
- How to Handle Twins after a Singleton
- How to Sleep Train Twins
- Surprising Costs of Raising Twins You Never Knew
- How to Potty Train Twins: The Ultimate Guide
Free download: 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: