7 Tips For Raising Twin Boys
Twin brothers can be a handful, but these tips can help you navigate life with two rambunctious boys.
Your twin boys are playmates, best friends and partners in crime. When boys come in pairs, you get double the fun, but you may also need to tweak your parenting strategies. Here are seven tips to help you nurture your twins;
- Tire Them Out
Prepare yourself for the "wide-world of wrestling hour," says Jennifer Walker, a co-founder of Moms on Call and mother of twin boys. Boys have a healthy desire for active contact, and twins are no exception. The hour before bed can turn twin brothers into Olympic athletes, jumping, climbing, running and clobbering. What's a mom to do? Plan loads of activities to keep them moving and use up their energy. This will tire them out and avoid the need for you to constantly referee.
- Drop the Guilt
If you feel your twins boys don't get as much individual attention as you'd like, remember the benefits of an automatic playmate. "You might not be able to do the mommy-and-me swim classes or other activities that require one-on-one participation, but your boys have constant companions who feed their curiosity, help their imaginations thrive, and hone those physical skills," says Lori Duffy Foster, who blogs about the universal issues of twins and parenting twin boys.
- Learn to Play
When the going gets tough, remind yourself that boys are fun. As Walker says, "boys can be an energy-packed delight. Everything does not need to be a lesson -- just keeping them alive is a full-time job!" If you can't beat them, join them. Take a trip down the slide at the playground, run, jump and play as a family.
- Pair Them Up
Use boys' natural competitiveness for good, advises Theresa Hernandez, a mother of 12-year-old twin boys from San Diego, California. If your boys turn everything into a contest, take advantage of this tendency during activities like potty training. Use reward charts or the promise of a fun family activity to encourage your boys to strive for good behavior.
- Don't Sweat Milestones
Let your boys take the lead in hitting milestones. Duffy Foster notes that, like many twins, her boys were late talkers. This raised some concern, so she had them evaluated and found that their non-verbal skills were beyond other children in their age group. "The theory was that they didn't feel the need to please adults with verbal responses like singletons often do," she says. Instead, her boys were more focused on gross motor skills.
"They had each other to entertain, and their favorite activities were physical, like tearing down the baby gates and climbing on the kitchen counters. They finally started talking just after their second birthday, and they haven't stopped since." But when her boys did hit developmental milestones, they usually did it within a week of each other. Hernandez agrees, saying that her boys "walked within hours of each other, popped their first tooth on the same day and potty trained in lockstep. I actually think parents of twins have it easier because they're always on the same schedule."
For more on milestones, check out these developmental milestones.
- Don't Expect Them to Share At First
Treat them as individuals, but buy them the same toys -- at least for the first few years. Hernandez remembers an early Christmas when one of her boys got a toy guitar and the other a toy accordion. The accordion was left behind while the boys fought over the guitar. Needless to say, the guitar was put away until the next holiday when another one was purchased. For the next few years, matching toys were provided as much as possible to avoid arguments.
- Let Them Choose
Appreciate and enjoy the unique bond that exists between twin brothers. If the boys are happy to spend time together, don't feel as though you need to interfere. According to Duffy Foster, "separation does not necessarily foster individuality." Instead, she recommends allowing them to choose their own clothes and hair styles when they're old enough to express an opinion.
Twin boys are a joyful gift chock full of energy. Be proud of yourself for raising two wonderful young men, even if there are a few bumps in the road. When they've sprouted up, taller than you one day, you'll look back at the whirlwind of their childhood and find it hard to believe how far you've come.
And check out the Real Deal on Raising Boy-Girl Twins.
Jennifer DiGiovanni is a mother of three, freelance writer and small business owner.