Encouraging Twins to Have Their Own Personalities and Interests
To encourage twins to have their own personalities and interests, parents can do the following:
- Give them names that are dissimilar. Paired names such as Sandy and Cindy do not encourage individuation.
- Refer to the twins as two kids rather than one set of twins. This sounds like a fine point distinction, but the subtle difference helps shape the paradigms held by each twin.
- Spend one-on-one time with each twin.
- Reward good behavior and redirect not-so-good behavior in a manner that is specific to each child: don’t reward both kids for the behavior of one of them, for example. Similarly, praise abilities individually. For example, you may say, “Paul, you did a great job today on your memorization of the alphabet! Well done! And Marcus, you did a great job today on your finger painting! Your artwork is beautiful!”
- Dress the kids differently, not similarly.
- Cut and style their hair differently.
- Create separate spaces (i.e., beds, play spaces, bedrooms, etc.) for each child.
- Decorate their spaces differently.
- Give them toys of their own, toys that are differentiated (i.e., tricycles of two different colors).
- Enroll them in a variety of activities and keep them in only those activities that interest them as individuals. For example, initially enroll them in music appreciation, soccer, scouting, and finger painting classes; keep each twin in only those activities that suit him/her. You can subsequently broaden his/her experience in those areas of interest. For example, if one of the twins is athletically inclined and loves soccer, perhaps you can sign him/her up for track and field or some other sport so that s/he can try a variety of athletic endeavors.
- Recognize that each of your kids will develop their own friends; when this happens, arrange separate play dates for them.