When I started this blog last year as Mummy2twindividuals, I didn’t know where it would take me. I still don’t but the name seemed fitting for a parenting blog written by a mummy to twins. I’ve never been one of those people who wanted twins. Why would I want to put my body through that and then juggle two babies at once when you could do them one at a time?
In fact, on our second attempt at IVF, I was pushing to only put back one embryo. However after what seemed like fovever trying to conceive and then odds of a 70% success rate with two embryos, I was convinced. Even then, I’d have still been thrilled to just get one baby.
But from the moment I realised I was carrying twins, I was ecstatic. Two babies in one go. It was like the best buy one get one free offer ever. Even from the first scan we knew our babies were going to be very different. They had their own sacs, placentas and were significantly different in size. Maybe this early news encouraged my feelings about twindividuality or maybe this is something that has developed just from being a twin mum.
Either way, I now feel strongly that twins need to be given as much freedom as possible to develop as individuals. Controversial as this may be, but this is why I’ve never dressed my girls alike. Every day they wear their hair differently and make as many of their own choices that are reasonable.
Here are some ways that encourage twindividuality
Although it is obviously easier to just grab two of the same of everything, try to dress twins separately. As tiny tots, when they have no say, even different coloured tops shows the world they are different people. When they get to the stage where they can have some input, let them chose their own outfits with support. We have a selection of dresses, leggings, tops and tights and although they often opt for the same style, their outfits are always different.
Instead of giving them both the same of everything, give toddlers choice. Every morning at breakfast we have a selection of bread based options and then a variety of cereals or porridge. One may have toast and porridge and the other crumpet and cereal. It’s no more work than if you had different aged siblings and were having to accommodate their preferences.
Offer a variety of play:
For children to decide what they like to play, they need to be given the opportunity to access a variety of toys and activities. One of the downsides of twins, is you can end up with a lot of duplicate or very similar toys. Maybe your daughter would love a construction set or your son may happily play with a doll but if those toys aren’t available, it’s hard to know as they are choosing from restricted options.
Similarly some children thrive from outdoor or messy play while others prefer quiet toys or dressing up. If you only provide one type of play, you won’t know.
Value their opionions:
One way to give twins the confidence to be different is to really value their thoughts and ideas. To say your favourite colour is green when your twin loves pink, is a big deal for them. Tell them how you are different or that you like something that Daddy doesn’t. We should be celebrating their differences and showing how we are all different and special in our own way.
Give quality 1-2-1 time:
Tough as this may be, we all need time. It’s the most valuable gift we can offer our children above any toy or gadget. It doesn’t need to be long and it doesn’t have to be a set time but we should be making sure we check in every day with each of them alone. A few minutes for a solo cuddle and chat will build a solid foundation for them to be themselves. A time when there’s no competing for space on mummy’s lap or waiting to be heard.
Do you raise twindividuals? I’d love to hear how you encourage their individual personalities.
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