Twin Parenting

Twin Etiquette: Tips for Managing Birthdays, Playdates and MORE with Twins

Have you ever scheduled a playdate with your child’s friend to learn after the fact that they are a twin? Did you then feel obligated to invite both twins over?

What is the twin etiquette for these tricky situations?

Are you obligated to drive carpool more often simply because you have two kids? What about birthday parties, two gifts, or one? Do you have to invite both twins to playdates?

As a parent to twins, or as a person that knows a set of twins, managing situations with TWO kids inherently has some unique challenges, most of which we never really think about how to approach until they pop up. Fair enough! Suddenly, a unique situation arises and now you have decisions to make.

We have compiled a list of questions surrounding twin etiquette you might have come across. Hopefully this gives you a starting point in the right direction for the next time that you’re planning a birthday party or getting kids together with twin siblings.

Twin Etiquette 101

We have been invited to a birthday party for twins, do we bring two gifts to the party?

Simply put, most likely, yes. In most cases (unless the family as asked for no gifts at the party) you would bring the birthday boy/girl a gift. Twins share a birthday, and ultimately share most things in their life, it is nice to celebrate them individually, by bringing each child a gift.

The caveat to that is, that two gifts are more expensive than one. We can understand the financial burden that can put on families. Friends have given creative gifts to our twins that are great for sharing, like board games, LEGO kits they can build together, sports equipment, books, arts & crafts, etc.

This leads to the following twin etiquette question: Do I buy two of the same gift or completely different gifts?

When in doubt, ask the parents! Think about the age of the twins and the stage of life that they are in. We have found that our kids enjoyed two of the same gift when they were younger (toddler age), but as they grew and they began to develop interests of their own, different gifts are completely appropriate.

My twins were invited to a birthday party, do I bring a gift to the birthday boy/girl from each of my twins?

In this case, we like to bring two gifts, or sometimes we will buy one slightly nicer gift. Why? Well, our reasoning follows the “treat others as you would like to be treated” thinking. When that child is invited to your twins’ birthday, they will likely be going to be incurring the cost of two gifts for your kids. You are sending two kids to that party, so giving two gifts isn’t completely out of line.

When I am planning a playdate for my child, do I invite my child’s friend AND their twin?

Ask yourself, do I want two more kids at my house and are they all friends? While some families feel like the more kids in their house the merrier, we get that not everyone lives in that camp! We believe that you never need to feel obligated to invite both of our children anywhere just because they are twins!

Learning to function independently from their twin is important. It is just as important for Timmy and Tommy to cultivate friendships that exist outside of their sibling relationship! Separate playdates are healthy opportunities for twins to learn these valuable life lessons. But hey, if they are all buddies and want the playdate, go for it!

Here’s another twin etiquette scenario to consider. If your child is good friends with both twins, should they all always play together? Is it appropriate to schedule separate playdates with each twin?

Twins can become heavily reliant on each other, which means cultivating friendships without their twin involved is important. So although they both may be good friends with someone, they need the opportunity to develop that relationship independently of one another. Friendships look very different for everyone. Giving twins time to play with mutual friends without their twin sibling allows those friendships to organically blossom!

Should twin families drive more in a carpool arrangement?

We think the polite thing to do is at least offer, especially if you are in a carpool with just one other child. More often than not, the parents probably won’t take you up on the offer, but it’s a nice gesture to make. In the end, it all usually balances out!

Should twin families be required to fulfill double the duties at school (i.e. bringing extra snacks or put in more volunteer hours)?

Here is the thing, you have two kids, bring snacks more often. If you have one kid, you might bring snack 5 times a school year, you have twins, double it. You would be doing that if they were a year apart in school. Twin parents are simply contributing to the same place on a condensed timeline.

In our experience, schools haven’t required more volunteer hours for families with multiple children. Many families, in fact, have multiple kids in school. Usually, the volunteer requirement is given per family rather than per child.

If you volunteer and your twins are in separate classes, split your time between the two classes. For parents with twins in the same class, ask the teacher what they would prefer. They may love the help, but they might also want to give other parents the chance to step in as well.

Do twin parents deserve double the cocktails?

Well, that’s a given….you are raising twins after all!

Unique situations constantly arise with our twins that get us thinking. We never really think twice about it until we start talking to singleton parents, who usually have tons of questions for us. There will always be more tricky situations to tackle as our twins continue to grow. As they arise, we will continue to talk about them here.

What are we missing? What have you experienced with your twins or with friends who are twins? How did you approach the situation?

Share all of your “twin etiquette” experiences with us in the comments below!