Parenting twins definitely has some unique challenges. Once you get through the sleepless nights of the first year, you’ll likely be dealing with a new problem: helping your twins to get along with each other.
Toddlers are not known for their ability to share or be particularly gentle with other kids. When you throw two toddlers into the mix, things get interesting. My twins are now just over a year-and-a-half, and our efforts to break up fights and teach them to be loving towards each other have been comical at times. We’ve had some moments that have made us laugh out loud and others that have resulted in tears from both sides.
Give each twin time alone. Twins kind of have a rough gig when you think about it. They always have to share mom and dad . . . actually, they always have to share everything. As a toddler, that can be a bit overwhelming. I think it’s important to give each twin time on their own so they can play by themselves or just spend some one-on-one time with mom or dad. It helps them recharge and gives them a chance to miss their twin. They are always anxious to see each other again after they are separated for a bit, and that time away definitely cuts down on the fighting.
Know what triggers each twin. There’s a dramatic size difference between my twins, and for the longest time the bigger twin thought it was funny to sit on the smaller twin. That’s made the smaller twin a bit wary of anyone trying to push her around, so she learned to bite. I know that I have only seconds to separate them when she starts looking angry before she is going to take a bite out of her sister’s arm, so I watch for signs of frustration. Every set of twins has its own quirks and triggers. Stepping in before things can escalate really helps cut down on the fighting and helps them get into the habit of treating each other kindly.
Have duplicate toys. When my twins were born, I thought for sure we could get away with buying single toys. It seemed silly to buy duplicates of something when they could just take turns and have a better variety of toys. The problem is, when one twin has something, the other wants it. That is the most common cause of fights in my house these days. Make it easy on yourself. Buy duplicate toys. I do try and look for some variety so they can have their own individual toys, for example when we bought the dolls we bought the same doll with different outfits and each twin definitely knows which doll belongs to her.
Look for chances to encourage kindness. My twins are young, but there are definitely opportunities to teach them to be kind to each other. When one twin cries (often as a result of something her twin did), we encourage the other twin to give her kisses or bring her a favorite toy. They love getting attention from each other, even right after a fight, and I love that they are learning to comfort each other.