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The Double Challenges of Parenting Twins

Twins: Double the giggles and double the grins and double the trouble if you're blessed with twins. Whether the unknown author of the ditty was twice blessed with twins, we'll never know. But parents of twins well know their unique parenting challenges and rewards; furthermore, as they begin elementary school, new challenges present themselves.

Classroom Independence for Twins

One of the first challenges is whether to separate twins in school classes. While it's a choice each parent must make based on their children's personalities and skills, the consensus is that when they enter school, it's time for each to go his or her separate way. Naturally, twins are usually very dependent on one another. Being in separate classes helps build independence and helps minimize unfair comparisons in ability that can affect a child's social and intellectual development.

Interests and Hobbies for Twins

It's natural for twins to gravitate toward the same interests, and that makes it easier for busy parents who do double duty as chauffeurs. But, it's also important to encourage twins to find interests of their own. One way of doing this is to create unique opportunities from similar interests, such as different positions in the same sport or different instruments if they are musically inclined.

One-on-One Parenting Time

Twins need to have individual time with each parent. One way of weaving such time into busy schedules is to alternate running errands or doing specific tasks between each child and parent.

Twin Children Turmoil

If you're the parent of a twin old enough to be mobile and vocal, chances are you're already acquainted with what's called Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES). To get attention, Twin One starts using his fork as a drumstick and his plate as a drum at the dinner table. Not to be outdone, Twin Two uses fork and spoon. Twin One then adds his spoon, glass, and bowl to his drum set. Twin Two adds every dish on the table. Depending on the scenario, the twins will either explode in laughter or anger at each other's antics. While TES may be incurable, it's not uncontrollable, using the same techniques of separation and distraction used with other children. It also helps to reduce competition for resources, attention, and approval by spending one-on-one time with each of them and setting standards for fairness so that each child is assured of being heard.