Creative Child

How to Recognize Unique Qualities in Your Kids When You Have Multiples

by Sarah Lyons

As a mom of multiples, I’ve noticed that they tend to get grouped together and referred to as “The Triplets.” This comes from people both in our family and outside of it. Many assume that because one likes a certain food, they all do or if one enjoys a particular activity, they all love it. This is simply not the case. It’s easy to forget that each child is an individual when they’re so often grouped together by default, especially if you have identical twins. Even more so, it’s difficult for others outside of the family to recognize this. Here are some tips for fostering individuality when you have multiples and suggestions for helping others recognize it, as well.

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Treat them as individuals

Speak to each child one-on-one about their school day. Find out each one’s likes and dislikes, and spend time separately with each child. Help others see them as individuals by dressing them differently and by using their individual names. Avoid referring to them as a single entity. Say, “I need to pick up Jack and Josh from school,” rather than “I need to pick up the twins.” This simple adjustment will reinforce the fact that they are separate people with individual needs, talents, and expectations.

Choose activities they love

Some multiples may all choose to play on the same soccer team, but in other cases one may love soccer and another may prefer swimming. Allow the children to choose what activities they want to do, even if it means having to juggle a lot of extracurricular activities. Not only will this help develop their natural gifts, but it will also positively impact your child’s developing self-concept as they grow confident in their individual efforts.

Acknowledge their gifts

Each child is naturally gifted. Take note of their talents as you play and engage with your children. Just as any two siblings would have differences in development, interests, and talents, so will multiples. One of my triplets is excellent at building blocks, one loves dancing and singing, and the other is a people person and very sensitive to others. On the other hand, they all love to read books and play outside. By taking the time to notice their similarities and differences in daily life, you will begin to see each as an individual and appreciate and embrace those differences.

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Foster friendships

As children grow they begin to form relationships outside of their household. Encourage your children to develop friendships with others, even making their “own” friends. Some parents may choose to put their multiples in separate classrooms at school because of this reason. Individual friendships between one twin and another child helps build confidence and develop unique qualities in multiples who are very much influenced by their siblings.

Being a twin (or triplet) is, of course, a unique and special experience. The closeness that multiples have is precious and not to be taken for granted. However the wonderful, unique qualities each child possesses should be cherished as well.

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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