In general, parents that have twins are very concerned with treating their children equally, but they often struggle in allowing their children to find their own identity. Parents usually dress twins in matching outfits, sign them up for the same activities, purchase two of the same toy and even arrange play dates to be together.
In order to make sure that you treat your twins as individuals, try keeping the following tips in mind:
- Clothes: Clothing reveals a lot about an individual and it is a way that people tend to show their creativity and identity. Do not feel obligated to dress your twins in identical outfits. Choosing clothes that differ in color will allow your child’s personality to show itself. When your children get older have them help pick out their outfits and dress in the clothes that they truly like.
- Activities: If one twin is enrolled in dance, it does not imply that the other child should do the same. Make sure that the activities your twins are enrolled in reveal their personal skills and interests. Although this may require you to drive around more often, your children will be participating in activities that they are truly excited about. Finding the right activity for each child may involve a few trials, but it will be well worth the effort to see your child have a positive experience once they finally discover an activity that they enjoy.
- One-On-One Time. Be sure to have special one-on-one time for each twin; you do not have to do everything together. If one child really enjoys reading, make the time to read with him/her. If the other child enjoys painting, be sure that you also have time for just you and that twin to paint together. It is important to keep in mind that one-on-one time with both parents, together and separate, will be beneficial to each child when bonding.
- Toys. Many individuals feel that if you buy one twin a particular item, then you are obligated to buy the other twin the same item, but this is not the case. When buying toys, make sure that the toy you buy is exactly what the child would want and like. In addition, by buying only one toy, this will help you educate as well as foster the importance of sharing and taking turns.
- Play dates. Twins do not necessarily need to have the same friends or be required to go on the same play dates. It is quite acceptable for one child to have a play date one day and have the other twin plan a play date for the following day. If they have the same friends, then it is alright for everyone to play together but no one should be forced to go on a play date.
- Bedrooms. Even if your twins share a bedroom, it does not mean that the space should not illustrate both personalities. Design the bedroom so that each twin’s identity and interests are expressed. All of his/her favorite items/toys should be included in the room as well. This may be as simple as allowing them to pick out different bedspreads or even painting the room in their two favorite colors.
- Birthdays. When celebrating your twins’ birthdays, make sure that the day is meaningful for each child. Birthdays are special for each child and you want to be sure that everyone’s wants and wishes are being included and met. Take the time to determine what each child wants for his/her birthday. If one child really wants to have a pool party and the other wants to have a bowling party, you might have to schedule the parties on separate days. Although they may be held on separate days, at least your children will be celebrating in a way that will make the day memorable for both of them.
When parenting twins, always keep in mind to treat each child as their own individual person. Keep each child’s wants, needs and interests in mind so that they are seen as two unique individuals rather than two peas in a pod.