5 Mistakes to Avoid Making with Toddler Twins

Raising toddler twins is no simple task! From fighting to behavior issues, learn how to manage two and make life with twins smoother.

Toddler Twins

We all know that the toddler stage can test your sanity, and that’s with one child. As any twin parent knows, raising two toddlers is no easy task. 

And unlike singletons—even those with siblings—twins are going through the same milestones at roughly the same time. This explains why dealing with twins, as opposed to, say, a newborn and toddler, is a challenge.

I certainly made many mistakes with mine. The kinds of mistakes I would avoid if I were to do this all over again. The ones that, at first, seemed like the right thing to do, but backfired in the end. See if you’re making these same mistakes, especially if you’re struggling with twins:

1. Keeping your twins together all the time

If you have twins and other kids of different ages, you’ve likely found that they tend to play with each other more so than other sibling pairings. This makes sense—after all, they’re the same age and have the same interests.

But this also makes it more tempting to lump them together all the time, or to forget to give each of them one-on-one time. You might not think to encourage them to play separately, assuming that where one is, the other follows.

But it’s important to encourage individuality with twins. As much as they spend time with each other, have them to play apart as well, especially when they’re on the brink of yet another fight. This prevents potential arguing and meltdowns and reminds them that they can have as much fun apart as together.

By the time they’ve finally finished playing alone, they’re more than willing to reunite peacefully once again.

Free resource: Do you struggle with getting your twins to listen? Join my newsletter and discover the ONE effective word to get them to comply and follow instructions. Grab your PDF below—at no cost to you:

One Effective Word to Get Kids to Listen

2. Forcing your twins to share

Compared to singletons, twins are more likely to fight over the same thing. Never mind if you bought two of the same cars or got one twin a Batman toy and the other a Superman one—they’ll find a way to fight for the same item.

Most well-meaning parents, hoping to teach the value of sharing, force their twins to share. In trying to be fair, they make one twin give up the desired item so the other can have her turn.

The problem is, this doesn’t respect that twin’s desire to keep playing and exploring. Imagine being so focused on an activity but forced to stop because someone else wants to have a go. It also teaches the other twin that she merely has to whine to get what she wants.

Use your best judgment. If you find that one twin has monopolized a certain toy or activity, then yes, teach her to share it with her sibling. But even this should be done respectfully, like giving her a time frame to transition. “Five more throws and then let’s hand the ball to your brother.”

An even more effective technique? Use a timer. Any time my twins are fighting over the same item, I set a timer for a few minutes so each can have his turn.

They prefer taking turns, even for 10 minutes at a time, than having to give up a toy completely. And they’re reassured that the other isn’t going to hog it the rest of the day—they know they have as much time as their brother does.

3. Not prioritizing their friendship

This might come as a shock to some, especially since many of us would say emphatically, “Of course I want my toddler twins to get along!”

But think about the language you use and the way you frame their friendship. Do you assume they’re going to fight and there’s no way around it, or do you correct disrespectful behavior they display toward one another right away?

For instance, when your twins are fighting, you can say, “We don’t speak to others that way, especially your sister.” You can also encourage gratitude by pointing out how fun it is to have a twin, especially when they’re enjoying each other’s company. “Isn’t having a twin sister so special?”

You can even use positive praise to encourage good behavior when you see it: “You two are having so much fun!” or rub their backs as they’re playing well together.

4. Telling your twins to stop crying

Crying elicits a reaction in all of us. The twins start throwing a fit, and we do all we can to get them to stop. After all, one kid crying is bad enough—two is even more stressful.

But think about the message that sends. By trying to stop your twins from crying as quickly as possible, you’re denying the natural emotions we all feel. Restoring peace and quiet becomes a higher priority than allowing them to sit with their feelings.

Because here’s the truth: crying is okay. It’s not so much about getting them to stop crying as it is giving them the safe and loving space to do so.

The next time they cry, accept it as a natural thing that happens. Give them a hug and watch their defenses melt away. Don’t discipline just yet and instead let your body language ease them away from resistance and into openness.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t enable bad behavior. They’re not going to think, Wow, this feels nice. I’m going to hit my brother again so I can get more hugs. The lessons can come later when they’re calmer and more receptive (after all, nothing will sink in while they’re crying hysterically).

For now, let them cry, even if hearing two sets of tears sounds stressful. This is natural, and you’re more likely to get them to calm down faster this way than feeling anxious or getting upset.

5. Having no consistent, clear rules

Toddler twins are prone to test boundaries, especially with each other. Establish clear responsibilities and rules in your family, and be consistent with it.

For instance, you might have a rule about no hitting, especially when they’re arguing. If this is the case, then the same must apply when they’re playing ninja warriors as when they’re arguing. Clear, consistent rules give them the boundaries to play safely without wondering whether something is allowed or not.

And don’t give up or assume they don’t listen because you’ve told them not to do something. Habits are based on consistent repetition, so it’d be unfair to expect them to listen the first time around.

One way to help them better understand their part is to place the responsibility on them. Instead of saying, “Stop whining,” you can say, “I can’t carry you while you’re whining.”

The responsibility isn’t on you (“Mama won’t pick me up”), but rather on them (“I need to stop whining if I want to get carried”).

Final thoughts

Handling toddler twins can feel like a feat reserved for the strongest of us. Twin life—especially with toddlers—can test our patience. But you can get through this stage, just as you did the newborn one, and as you will all the others ahead of you.

Get more tips:

Free resource: Do you struggle with getting your twins to listen? Join my newsletter and discover the ONE effective word to get them to comply and follow instructions. Grab your PDF below—at no cost to you:

One Effective Word to Get Kids to Listen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. How long do you let the twins cry for? What if they don’t calm down

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Hi Marie! It’s not so much that I let them cry on and on, but that I don’t tell them to stop crying as if it were a bad thing. Instead, I would actually focus on calming them down with non-verbal communication (hugs, rocking them in your arms, etc). Save the words for later once they’re calm and they can actually listen. For now, it’s a matter of making them feel safe and secure enough to stop feeling upset.

  2. Dear Boss says:

    Hi! Id like to add to your answer to Marie… Teacher here and I worked with toddlers – preschool age children during grad school. I dont call it time out but TAKE SOME TIME. But whatever is going on, have the child calm down and cool down. give a glass of cool water and a space to think about what is going on. if possible, turn the lights off or open a window to create more of a cool and calming atmosphere. They will calm themselves down in a few minutes.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Great tips! Thanks for adding these.