Raising Twins and Individuality
Raising twins brings its own unique challenges, experiences and fun. Often people see twins as a pair or a set and are celebrated in their likeness especially with identical twins and sometimes even same gender fraternal multiples. Baby twins will share many things especially during the first year of life so encouraging individuality is important.
A baby starts to learn about sense of self between six and twelve months of age.
Something to remember, twins are two different people who will have their very own likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, needs and wants, this may start from birth. Experts agree that it is important to foster individuality in twins at an early age. And as they get older supporting them in doing things separately, having different friends and interests will help them to be wonderfully independent and individual people.
~ Nurture their special bond while encouraging individuality ~
Individuality when Raising Twins
Personally I think singletons, twins, triplets or more will all naturally develop their own individual identity. With that said individuality is something parents of twins can encourage.
Here are some great tips on –
Raising Twins and Encouraging Individuality:
One on One Time – Setting aside a little time everyday for your children is important to create a special bond with each child. Cuddling, talking, singing or even special outings even a play date.
To begin with your multiples may find time away from each other distressing so start off with short trips to ease them gradually. They will soon know that though they have a bond like no other sometime apart is OK and even fun, spending that quality time with each parent. Outings will also allow one on one time with the other parent and twin.
Avoid Labeling – There are two types of labeling the first is referring to them as ‘the twins’, if you identify them as individuals so will they. Kindly discourage others from this too.
The second type of labeling is referring to each as ‘the artistic one’ or ‘the sporty one’, these types of labels can discourage your children from trying new things. It may also make your children’s identity revolve around their label making them feel like this is who they ‘the artist one.
Dressing Twins – Though many of us will dress our baby twins in identical outfits, this isn’t ideal when trying to prompt twin individuality. Another option is to dress them coordinately, may be different colors or slightly different styles. I would dress our girls completely different most of the time. While they were babies it really helped people to identify them (during that same day anyway).
Ownership of Possessions – From the moment they are created in the womb they are sharing, the womb, maybe even the placenta and sac. Once they arrive it’s quite likely toys and even clothes will be shared for the most part. When they are older they become aware of that’s mine, that’s yours and that’s ours, its important they feel ownership of things.
Encourage Separate Activities – Raising twins as they get older you will notice differences in the activities they choose. One may like climbing, running and jumping while the other loves to draw color and dance. To encourage their likes you could find activities within your community to support these, like gymnastics, a sport, ballet or other dance classes.
Birthday Etiquette – Every birthday have two cakes with their every own theme and sing happy birthday twice. Every birthday (if you can remember) you can alternate who gets the first birthday song. I do this with my girls because I think everyone else gets a song and cake each so why not twins. Receiving a gift each I know will be much preferred by your twins, though even siblings can sometimes get a joint present when it’s something like a swing set for example.
Praise Individually – Try to praise your children separately, this can sometimes be difficult especially during the younger years as they can often do things together. Spending individual time with each child can really give you the opportunity to do this.
Create Separate Memory Books – It is very cute to create a twin album or scrapbook but putting together one each makes memorabilia that belongs to them personally with their very own photos, stories and experiences.
At School – When at school being identified can be exhausting for your children, so you could use colors. One could always wear something red and the other something blue. It could be hair bands, socks, a colored ribbon sewn onto their collar or somewhere like that.
Twins may not reach their twin baby milestones exactly according to the general twin development milestone consensus, and that is also fine.