Tips for Raising Individuals

If you are expecting twins, triplets, or higher order multiples, then you and your partner are probably extra overjoyed when it comes to adding to your family! Twins and multiples are a wonder to raise and help to make your family even more special! But there are a few pitfalls when it comes to raising twins, particularly if they are identical. Because they are born at the same time, multiples are often seen as a package deal, and may not have the chance to develop their own individual tastes and interests. Here are some great tips on how you can be sure to raise your multiples to be wonderful individuals!

Multiples: Something Extra Special
Twins and multiples are indeed a little extra-special when it comes to being a part of your family. After all, multiples form a particularly strong bond right from the beginning. Not only do twins develop together inside of your uterus, but they also touch, kick, and sleep together right from the word go. While they are inside your womb, they can hear one another’s heartbeat, feel each other’s presence, and as a result, form a special relationship unlike any other. This bond will only get stronger after birth, as they spend more and more time interacting with each other.

Though this type of bond is wonderful, and ensures a close relationship between twin girls and boys, it is important for parents to be aware of the need to establish individual identities for their multiples. Just because twins look alike or share the same birthday, it doesn’t mean that they identical thoughts and feelings, likes and dislikes. So when it comes to caring for twins, it is important for parents to take a specific interest in fostering individuality.

Fostering Individuality: Tips on Twins and Multiples

It can sometimes be hard to know exactly how to go about fostering individuality in your multiples. After all, these children have such a strong bond that it can often be difficult not to encourage them to be constant partners. Here are a few simple suggestions to help get you started with encouraging your twins or triplets to be individuals.

Call Them By Their Names
Parents, family members, and friends often fall into the trap of calling multiples, "the twins," "the boys," or "the girls." While this may seem natural to you, it can leave your kids feeling very unappreciated for who they are as individuals. Instead, always try to call them by their individual names. And try to switch around the order of their names when you call them: for instance, instead of constantly saying "Jack and Joey," mix it up a bit and call them Joey and Jack, from time to time. This will prevent one twin from feeling as if he is always second best.

Avoid Labels
Family members and friends may find it particularly easy to identify your multiples by using labels, such as "the smart one" or "the artistic one." Labels can be dangerous, however, as they tend to limit children from exploring different facets of their personality. If one of your twins is constantly labeled "the artistic one," she may feel that this label represents her entire identity. As a result, she may not pursue other activities, such as sports, reading, or computers.

Don’t Dress Them Identically
Though you may think it’s absolutely adorable to dress your triplets in identical outfits, this is not a good way to promote individuality. If you like the idea of having your identical twins in similar outfits, try dressing them in coordinating colors or similarly themed clothes. This will help your children to explore their individual tastes while retaining some of that special twin bond. Be sure to purchase separate dresser drawers for each of your children. This will help them to identify with their own possessions and it will give them a chance to pick out their own clothing.

Investigate Interests
It is important for every child to be encouraged to pursue their own individual interests, and it is just the same for twins and multiples! Just because your twins spend a lot of time together, it doesn’t mean that they both have to do the exact same activities during playtime. Instead, encourage your multiples to spend time pursuing the activities that they enjoy. If one of your twins likes to color and the other likes to read, allow them the individual space and time to pursue these interests. Consider enrolling your twins in separate play classes or social activities – this will encourage them to meet other children while allowing them to explore what they love to do!

Dedicate One-on-One Time
It can be tempting to spend time with your twins when they are both together. But it is important to solidify an individual relationship with each of your little ones. Set aside a little time everyday where you can cuddle, talk, or do an activity alone with each of your twins. You might also think about taking each of your children out on a special outing so that you can have some good one-on-one time together. While you take one of your twins out, you can leave the other twin with your partner, or organize a play date for her. Be aware that your multiples might resist at first, especially if they have a particularly strong bond. When you first separate your twins try to keep it to a short period of time, so that they don’t get too stressed. Gradually increase the amount of time that your children spend apart.

Praise Them Individually
Try to spend a little time every day offering individual praise to your twins or triplets. Multiples often do things together, so it can be tempting to offer praise to your children as a group. Instead, focus on praising them for things that they do by themselves: congratulate one of your twins on that picture he drew while giving your other child a hug for putting his toys away. This will help to reassure your multiples that they are seen as individual people, not just as a package deal.

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We forget our boy/girl twins are twins until we go out and people say "twins."
12 years ago