Teaching Twins to Embrace their Individuality

twin 5 year old girls on a beach embrace their individuality

Encourage your twins to embrace their individuality and encourage others to treat them as individuals with these tips, from a mom of twins.

When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I made it my mission to make everyone aware that my twin daughters are individuals, rather than being seen as one unit.

Their individual identities are extremely important to me. I want my twins to have the benefits of a singleton (not being constantly compared or confused with a sibling), while at the same time having the perks of being a twin.  

When my identical twin daughters started preschool, I became hyper-aware of how the teachers were treating my daughters — whether as individuals or a pair.  I was often irked when only one “Get To Know Me” hand-out was sent home from school, or my twins had to share items that every other student in the class received their own.  

Now that my daughters are five years old, I am transitioning the skills to them to recognize that they should be treated as individuals and to speak up when their identity is confused. embrace their individuality

twin 5 year old girls standing in front of white picket fence with balloons embrace their individuality

However, in my goal to ensure everyone is treating my twins as separates, I have also had many key learnings at home about my twins’ individuality.  

For example, the first year my daughters celebrated Valentine’s Day at school, I made these adorable Valentine’s treats for their classmates and signed it from Twin A AND Twin B. I was so excited to bring them to school, until I realized they were exchanging Valentines among classmates and only one girl would have an item to exchange. I quickly scrambled to make another set of Valentines. It was at this time that I learned it was important to create separate gifts from each of my daughters. embrace their individuality

A few weeks ago, Twin B revealed a shocking statement that was bothering her.  In the middle of dinner, she said, “A lot of people call me ‘girl’.” I responded by asking, “Does that bother you when people call you and your sister ‘girls’?”  I didn’t realize that for the past few years, in the craziness of life, it had become easier for me to refer to my twins as “girls” rather than always using their individual names. Twin B went on to say that we never called my singleton ‘girl’, but we would often refer to my twins as “the girls,” or to get their attention to say, “hey, girls”.

twin girls 5 years old standing on a hay bale embrace their individuality

Below I have provided you with a few ideas on how to help teach your twins to stand up for their identity.  

Teaching Twins to Embrace their Individuality

Call/Refer to Your Twins by Their Names

Grouping your twins by group names eliminates their identity in the process. Before my daughters were born, my husband and I made it a rule that we would never call them “the twins,” but at the same time we starting calling them “the girls.”  We realized that we never did this with our singleton daughter and instead call her by her given name. embrace their individuality

Point Out Clarifying Marks

It helps people who do not interact with your twins on a daily basis to know the tell-tale signs of how to tell the twins apart. While knowing the difference between twins may be more obvious with girl/boy twins, some same-sex fraternal and identical twins are often confused. Encourage your twins to point out their differences to people to help them learn who is who, such as: freckles, hair/facial/body differences, frequent colors worn, etc.  

twin girls 5 years old standing on a boardwalk embrace their individuality

Teach Your Twins to Speak Up

My extremely shy twin daughters started ballet at three years old.  One of them impressed me when their ballet teacher asked them their names.  One of the girls, spoke up very clearly and said, “I’m ____, and this is ____.”  I was so proud that at this young age, my daughter was standing up for herself and pointing out each of their identities.  From there, the girls continued to correct family and friends when they incorrectly named the girls saying, “I’m not ___, I’m ____.”  

Help Each Twin to Choose Their Own Activities

If each multiple has their own “thing,” whether it is a sport, activity, or a love for something, it helps to create each child’s identity. It could be as simple as one twin loves butterflies and will often wear outfits, jewelry, or accessories that have a butterfly design. Or, one twin loves gymnastics and will often do tumbles, cartwheels, and handstands in her free time. Support your twins in their individual interests. That may mean signing them up for two different activities, which can get tricky, but it can also allow you alone time with each twin while their sibling is in an activity without them. embrace their individuality

girl blowing out birthday candles while her twin watches embrace their individuality

Treat Them Like Singletons Whenever You Can

Why should twins have to share a birthday cake? This is a perfect example of how twins often get lumped together, which only encourages others to treat them as one. Make sure to have two different cakes and sing “Happy Birthday” twice. This is just one example of how you can make a public display of each twin’s individuality to reinforce the idea to family and friends.

Provide One-on-One Time with Each Twin

Having individual time with each parent helps multiples develop their own connections while also providing that child with a time to create their own sense of self. It is during this time that the multiple is only themselves and no longer a twin.

Teaching Twins to Embrace their IndividualityLori Cavallario and her husband live in northern NJ with their three daughters, 5-year-old identical twins and a 1-year-old singleton.  After her twins were born at 31 weeks, she became a Family Support Specialist in the NICU where her daughters spent 6 weeks. She has a background in public relations, event planning, and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.  Recently, Lori published the new twin’s children’s book, “Double Dose of Adorable: It’s a Twin Thing.”  She can be found planning themed birthday parties – (check out Twinvite Designs), making Pinterest recipes, and teaching her twincesses how to do crafts.  

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collage of twin girls 5 year olds embrace their individuality