Today’s guest, Nina, is a working mom to three boys—a five-year-old and toddler twins. She blogs about parenting at Sleeping Should Be Easy, where she writes everything she’s learning about being mom and all its joys and challenges. She also covers topics like how kids learn, family life, being a working mom and life with twins. Visit her at www.sleepingshouldbeeasy.com.
When I found out I was expecting twins, I worried about the challenges of raising them. How was I going to afford two babies? What madness would my body go through carrying twins? How will my then three-year-old react to welcoming two new siblings? And how in the world am I going to survive the newborn stage—times two? With all these worries, I had a difficult time convincing myself of anything positive about twins.
Fast forward two years later, and those challenges were well worth it. However difficult caring for twins may be, I love being a twin mom and the benefits of raising them.
But then I realized that not only was I benefiting from having twins, but so were they.
In many ways, my twins are learning important values because they’re twins. Sure, singleton kids can learn these as well, but twins face and own these values much sooner.
Here are four essential values my kids are learning because of being a twin:
From birth, each of my twins didn’t get the same amount of attention we showered our eldest with when he was our one and only. Not only did they have to share attention with our eldest, they also had to share it even as newborn babies with each other. Few newborn babies ever have to deal with that.
All through infancy and into toddlerhood and beyond, twins learn the value of patience. There’s just no way they can get everything they want right this second. Maybe one wants to read a book but mama is changing the other’s diaper. Strapping one child into a car seat means the other has to wait for his turn. For every task done to one twin, the other must wait.
I had a proud mama moment the other day. Both boys were in their room and I assumed they were fighting over a favorite stuffed animal. Instead, I see them walking out, each with his hand holding onto the stuffed animal. And in unison, they announce, “Sharing!”
My boys squabble every day. But with every fight, they understand more about the art of compromise. They learn the concept of turn-taking from the get go. Sharing becomes a part of our family dialogue, as it must be if you have a twin. And they know that if you want something the other has, a great way to get it is to give him something else just as desirable in exchange.
Having a same-aged child next to you every day is bound to test and improve your level of compromise.
Growing up with a twin means having an instant partner in crime. You’re in this together, going through the same challenges.
While being part of a twosome can be a test in self-identity, being twins means having a lifelong sidekick. You also have someone you need to watch out for, and a comrade to face the same challenges right along with you.
#4: Being a good friend
Perhaps most importantly, twins learn the value of being a good friend from the get go. They’re thrust in social situations with another child the same age. They learn social cues such as when to back off, when they’re wanted and how to make others feel better.
They empathize and put themselves in another person’s shoes effectively. They realize that they are, in fact, not the center of the universe and instead must consider those around them.
And they’re compassionate. A twin is likely to offer a crying brother a beloved stuffed animal in an attempt to make him feel better. He’ll call, “Come!” to his twin, excited to show him something cool. And they’ll have each other to laugh with over things only they can understand, every single day. Can’t beat that.
Raising twins is hard for parents, and being twins can be just as challenging for kids. But it’s not without its benefits, some of which they learn early on.
They learn patience and compromise from having another person to consider. They understand the value of teamwork and being in this together. And they know how to be a good friend, both to one another and to those around them.
Having twins has been a blessing to me as their mom. But being a twin has also taught my kids valuable lessons they learned from having one another.
What benefits have your kids learned from being a twin? Let us know in the comments!