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How to Have Independent Twins
We Are Raising Four Children, Not Two Sets of Twins
When you find out you are expecting, the thought of bringing a new life into the world is amazing and overwhelming at the same time. My primary focus when I found out I was having a baby was taking care of my body. I was no longer just affecting me. I had a little baby inside of me!
At our first ultrasound, we found out we were expecting twins. Only two percent of the world's population are twins. I was shocked to find out we were having a set! Now I had two little babies inside me!
I had an uneventful pregnancy. At thirty-seven weeks and five days, we welcomed our two sons. They weighed 6 lbs. 3 oz. and 5 lbs. 12 oz. They were healthy and came home with us.
Seventeen months later, we brought home our second set, a little boy and girl. They were 6 lbs. 4 oz. and 6 lbs. 9 oz. They were also healthy and came home with us, too!
We made it a priority to raise healthy, independent twins. We planned to:
- Treat them as siblings with shared birthdays
- Emphasize their individual differences
- Dress them differently
- Address their individual learning needs and school life
- Address possible dependencies
How We Survived Back To Back Twins
- 2 Sets of Twins! We Had Twinstimes2!
We had back to back twins, seventeen months apart. Find out how we got ready for set one and set two...and survived!
Our first set is fraternal boys. Our second set is boy/girl and therefore are fraternal as well. Unlike identical twins, fraternal twins do not share any more genetic information than siblings. The only difference is that their gestation and births occurred at the same time.
We Dress Our Twins Uniquely
How To Dress Twins
I have sisters that dress their kids the same for family pictures. I wonder if I would if I did not have twins. Our twins are fraternal. They look like siblings, but could never be confused for one another after you know them.
Dressing twins starts out as a preference by the parents. We have always dressed our children uniquely. Even though they were the same size and shared clothes, they never wore the same outfit at the same time. We asked for the gifts to be different. Unlike many twin parents, we did not want two of everything.
As the children became older, they began to pick favorite colors. I had a son that would only wear orange for years! I used to buy green for our oldest son, orange for his twin, blue for our next son and then pink or purple for our daughter. They began to identify themselves by their colors.
Even though the older two are in Catholic schools and wear uniforms, they change right when they get home. The three oldest boys share a wardrobe. No clothes are alike. But, I do have to double take if two happen to be wearing an orange shirt.
Our First Set Of Twins: The Boys
Our Second Set of Twins: The Little Ones
Do You Separate Twins In School?
Do you keep twins together or separate in school? This can depend on the parent's preferences as well. I think this completely depends on the children. In our case, we treated them as individuals from day one. To this day, set one is ‘the boys’ and set two are ‘the little ones’. We never even called them twins.
I have a sister with a set of boy/girl twins. Sometimes they shared classrooms. Sometimes they were together. She said it is absolutely easier on the parent when they are together. You get one set of homework, one set of directions and one set of projects.
My husband and I agreed to keep them together as long as the following occurred:
1. They are at different tables in the classroom.
2. They are not holding each other back.
3. They are continuing to develop independently and at their own rate.
4. They have their own friends.
I am sure the teachers love me at parent teacher conferences. They have their agenda and I have mine. I always review my 4 items with the teachers. They laugh at me, but they understand.
Additionally, we review, yet again, do you see any reason they need to be separated? They agree that because they have been independent siblings up to this point, they are still functioning well in the same classroom. We will continue to review this topic every year as children change and so do their needs.
The Fear Of A Dependent Twin
Before our first set started Kindergarten, I was a little concerned that one of my boys was becoming dependent on his twin. He is the more sensitive of the two. He really enjoys drawing so I found him an art class. Every Thursday for a couple of months, the whole group dropped him and only him off at art class. He was worried at first. He wondered why his brother wasn’t in his class. I said that we wanted him to try something on his own and practice drawing. He smiled getting back in the car after each class. He had fun at class and did a great job being on his own.
I enjoyed the art projects he created. Even more, I enjoyed watching the confidence and independence grow.
We started with two sets of twins. Twins were what we knew. I felt like we were becoming experts in raising independent twins.
When our twins were four and three, we had a singleton. He arrived at thirty-nine weeks four days and weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. He was healthy and came home with us.
For years our focus was creating independent twins. Suddenly our concerns shifted to how my singleton would be by himself! This little guy was flying solo! My older kids had always had playmates.
My concern was unwarranted.
He acts just like ninety-eight percent of world. He is excited when they return to school, but he does things on his own just fine. He is naturally independent.
There are advantages to being a twin. Twins have always had a playmate. Most of their encounters in life occurred with their twin. They were born with their best friend.
However, they have challenges as well. People forget who is who. People forget to treat them as individuals. People forget that twins are simply siblings sharing birthdays.
While a synonym for twin is duplicate, don't forget that they are in fact unique.
© 2012 Karen Lackey