Twins at Play

One of the advantages of having twins is that your children always have someone to play with. For the first three years of my twins’ lives, I didn’t find this to be true. They pretty much played independently, and when they did play together, it usually resulted in a fight within five minutes! But now that they’re three, there are more and more extended periods where they’re playing nicely together. Their imaginations have sprouted, and it’s really adorable to see them engage in “pretend games.” They will use their dinosaurs to have a mock fight. Or they’ll play together with a bucket of Legos. It’s so much fun to see them having a conversation together. Best of all, they’re on the same level, so they’re interested in the same things. My two older singletons are almost three years apart, so often they had different interests and wouldn’t play together. While the youngest was still interested in Power Rangers, the oldest grew out of them and considered them for “babies.” So, it’s nice to have twins who will always be at pretty much the same level of maturity.

Another benefit of twins playing together is that they more quickly learn how to share and take turns than a child who is raised on his own. Sometimes, it’s just not possible to have two of every toy, which is good because they must learn to work things out when they both want the same thing. Of course, this takes time, and fights inevitably arise when they’re very young, but the older they get, the better they get at taking turns, especially with a little guidance from parents.

I often wonder if my twins will develop imaginary friends. Both of my older boys had a series of imaginary friends for a while (most notably, “Tinky” and “Scooter”!). I always thought it was because they wanted someone to play with, so it will be interesting to see if my twins develop the same need for friends, albeit make-believe ones.

Sometimes, my boys will fight over a toy, even if its ownership is clear (such as different colors, etc.). Caleb seems to covet whichever toy Austen has, whether it’s “his” or not. It’s just more desirable when his brother has it (and is, of course, discarded once he gets it). We now mark many toys with an “A” for Austen and a “C” for Caleb to help them determine what belongs to whom. They’ve learned to recognize their own letters and seem to respect the “A” or the “C” as the final determinant of ownership.

Finally, even if your twins play beautifully together, make sure you still set up play dates for them to learn to play with others. It’s not healthy for them to only rely on their twin for companionship. If they attend preschool or school, check with the teacher to make sure they are making friends outside of each other. There should be a healthy mix between playing together and with other kids.

I’m so happy to see my twins finally playing well together! It warms my heart to see them laugh at each other’s antics and to have fun in their own special ways. What a blessing to have a built-in play mate!

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About Susan Heim

Susan M. Heim is an author and editor, specializing in multiples, parenting, women’s and Christian issues. Her books include "Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power"; "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More"; "It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence"; "Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons"; and, "Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year." Upcoming books include "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women," and "Moms of Multiples' Devotions to Go." Susan's articles and essays have appeared in many books, magazines and Web sites. She is a member of the National Association of Women Writers and the Southeastern Writers Association, and has a degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. Susan lives with her husband and four sons (two teenagers and twin grade-schoolers) in Florida.