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Often, parents ask us if we always have to buy two of everything, and our answer is typically no. Like any other siblings, we have to teach our twins to share.
That is usually followed by, “then don’t your twins fight all of the time?” Again, our answer is usually no.
While twins seem to be used to sharing from early on, there are times when they simply want the same thing.
Buying two of everything would seemingly be the easy solution for parents of twins, however, it isn’t realistic or even cost-effective. Besides that, sharing is a part of life, so kids need to figure out how to do so graciously, for everyone’s sanity.
We have found simple ways, without crowding our homes with duplicate toys, to have our twins share with one another and play rather peacefully.
6 Proven Strategies that Teach Twins to Share:
Look for toys that encourage children to play cooperatively, as a group (or together if you only have 2 kids) instead of independently. We have filled our toy boxes with PLAYMOBIL’s themed sets, like this PLAYMOBIL Hidden Temple with T-Rex, for this exact reason.
Their playsets are focused on iconic figures from a variety of “worlds”, both realistic and imaginative, but their extensive detail allows children to interchange sets and explore their imaginations by creating endless scenarios together.
This classic family toy is now conveniently located at Walmart, which means you can pick up a quality toy to encourage cognitive and social/emotional development in your twins while you are shopping for groceries! That’s a win in our books for sure.
Need some playtime inspiration? Head on over to PLAYMOBIL!
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Be A Model
Kids learn by watching and listening to everything that those around them say or do. So one of the best ways to teach your twins to share is to lead by example. Share a bit of your ice cream or even join in their play and model for them how to play cooperatively and share their toys. You may feel as though you are over exaggerating at times when modeling through play, but it is an effective way to show your children what sharing really looks like.
Don’t Label EVERYTHING
Mine, mine, mine, mine. These four little letters are a natural part of a child’s vocabulary, especially very young children. Make an effort to encourage communal ownership of the toys in your home by not labeling everything so that children aren’t feeling possessive over things.
On the flip side of that, however, is also giving children things of their own. When you think about life as an adult, do you share everything you own? Probably not, so why should your children be forced to do so with everything that they have?
As parents of twins, the art of sharing can even mean teaching them that they don’t have to share. From the beginning, they have had to share a womb, a birthday and their parent’s attention, which is why it is also important that twins learn to have a sense of ownership and individuality as well.
Allow your twins to have things that are theirs, that they can be possessive of. Having things of their own will teach them to take pride in and take care of their belongings, which is also a valuable life lesson for kids.
Positive reinforcement is every parent’s ally. We all respond well when we feel encouraged and proud of our actions. Anytime you see your kids exhibiting good sharing behavior, point it out and give them lots of positive praise for what they are doing, no matter how insignificant the behavior may seem.
And When All Else Fails
As a rule of thumb, our boys know that if we fight over something, no matter the circumstance, no one gets to play with it. We find that when we completely remove the toy from play, just for a short period of time, our kids can easily refocus and resume playing cooperatively.
In general, we have found that these strategies have encouraged our twins to share without forcing the behavior on them. Let’s be real here, kids fight, they want what they want, and sometimes they just DON’T WANT to share. Kids will be kids, but if you work to establish a home environment where sharing is common practice by everyone in the family, you won’t be wanting to pull your hair out from all of the sibling squabbles.
Did we miss any tips that have worked to teach your twins to share? Let us know in the comments below!