Playing Well With Others

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Categories Behavior, Development, Toddlers

I am lucky enough to be going through the experience of a raising a singleton and the experience of raising multiples. (And the experience of raising another singleton…)

Although I know I shouldn’t, I often find myself making comparisons between the development of the older singleton and her younger multiple brothers. More often than not she comes out “ahead” in these comparisons – she walked first, she talked first, her gross and fine motor skills were slightly ahead. That could be because she was a first-born, a singleton, a girl. Who knows? It could just be her.

Regardless, the boys have come out light-years ahead in one area: playing nicely with others. Sure, they like to bicker amongst themselves. But when it comes to their siblings, their cousins, random strangers at Story Hour, these boys are outgoing and always willing to interact with other children.

Always.

If they are playing with a toy and another child takes it, as long as that other child isn’t their twin brother, they simply move on. If another child has a toy that they want, they will stand, smiling, and watch that kid play until it is their turn to have it. They experience true joy when they watch someone else having a good time. And if they see another child crying, they will pat that child’s back.

I’d like to think we taught them this, but, really, we didn’t. They are just comfortable being around other little people. More so than their big sister ever was. They have an innate sensitivity that I’d like to bottle and sell to the other parents at the local Children’s Museum…and a few relatives as well!

So if we didn’t “teach” them, how did they get that way? Is it a function of being a multiple? I don’t know. It could be. Whatever it is, it’s simply amazing. I hope it stays with them as they grow into teenagers and adulthood.

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5 thoughts on “Playing Well With Others”

  1. My daughters are the same way. Sometimes I think they would fight to the death, or at least first blood, if they could when one of them takes a toy from the another. But put any other child in the mix and they don’t even blink if a toy is snatched from them. I’ve always tried to encourage sharing so I think that’s where most of it comes from, but it’s so interesting to watch the change in dynamics when they’re around other kids.

  2. I have to ditto quadmama’s comment… some days I am convinced that if Nate and Alex were left in a room together with two sets of identical toys there would be blood. But throw a third non-sibling into the mix and they love playing with them.

    (Alex walked at 10 months so that throws the singleton/twin theory out.)

  3. I’m a mom to 4-month-old twin girls and am also the older sister of identical twin boys. My brothers are 18 months (2 school years) younger than I am, and they have always been more adept socially. They were easy-going, very friendly, and popular at any age. I do think it’s a function of being twins and the fact that many people are attracted to/curious about twins. As my husband has said, my brothers always have a wingman, so they have extra confidence. This has been especially true in their dating lives!

  4. I definitely think playing nicely with others is a strength found in multiples. It was very evident to me recently when my girls had their 1st birthday party and all the guests were singletons with no siblings (we live on an island, and my girls the only twins). The girls were happy as can be sharing with everyone and completely fine with toys and gifts being snatched right out of their hands. The other kiddos struggled with sharing, and I can’t blame them at all. If they’ve never had to share at home, it must be difficult to have to share elsewhere.

  5. I also think this IS a function of being twins.

    I saw this so clearly when I hosted a playgroup for other mothers of multiples in my local club. All the twin toddlers in my very crowded basement full of toys, somehow played AROUND each other and *gasp* there was NO fighting over anything!

    Afterwards I realized, that was amazing, and that would only happen in a room full of toddler twins, who have by default, learned to navigate around their sibling their entire short life!

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