How do I get my twins to be less dependent on each other?

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by mom2gc, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. mom2gc

    mom2gc Well-Known Member

    [SIZE=medium]My boy/girl twins will turn 4 in a week’s time and I have a very hard time getting them to do activities independently.  If we want to separate them so that each child goes with one of us, they both start to cry and say they will miss each other too much. The emotional drama just makes me give in and then I let them both go with either myself or with my husband.  They still share a room and I wonder if this is also contributing to the problem.  We will have an extra bedroom by September and then I will be able to separate them. They are in the same class at pre-school and have made separate friends but will always check on each other throughout the day and when asked who their best friend is they still say each other. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]Please give me some ideas that work for you. Thanks[/SIZE]
  2. FGMH

    FGMH Well-Known Member

    First of all, siblings being good friends is nothing negative - I think it is great if siblings or twins love oneanother and are "best friends". But helping them go their own ways is important too.
    Our twins also share a bedroom and will have to for quite a while yet. I think the security of having a loved person close by at night is a good thing for a child, so I would prefer to work on daytime separation before separating them at night, but that is just my choice.
    We regularly separate ours (B/G like yours and just a year older) for running errands or small outings with mom or dad and they usually love this, but it took a bit of work and ignoring some tears in the beginning. We just never gave them a choice.
    I also schedule doctor's appointments, check-ups etc. individually if I can so one goes to pre-school while the other one gets a morning with mom, including said appointment. I was also strict about the healthy one going to daycare or pre-school alone while the sick one stays at home. We always told them that a fun day with their friends is a lot better than sitting around in boring doctor's offices or playing second fiddle to a sick sibling.  This was harder than the separation for errands with one parent but very worth it because they learnt that they could and did cope well alone in the school-environment which built their confidence for other separations like birthday parties or playdates without their twin.
    Good luck, it does get easier every time!
    2 people like this.
  3. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'd say with more practice.  My twins are close and dependent on each other (slowly getting less and less so as time goes on).  I'd start with small outings, like Happy June said, maybe with errands.  I'd package it as this one's date with Mommy and the other one's date with Daddy and remind them they will only separated for a short time.  Yes, they might put up a fuss at first, but I'd keep doing it.
    There is nothing wrong with them being close or saying they are each other's best friend.  Believe me, my two would tell you in a minute that they are each other's best friend.  Mine have the problem of believing that as long as they have each other, no other kids exist.
    Mine have been in the same class for pre-school and kindergarten.  First grade is going to have separate classrooms and they will be separated for most of the day except for probably lunch and recess.  So I know it is going to be an adjustment for them both.
    I'd keep the separate outings short when you begin and just talk them about how time apart can be fun and good thing.  It will get better!
    1 person likes this.
  4. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have a couple of things I tell them regularly:
    1.) You are different people, with different needs.
    2.) It's ok to miss your brother (but we're not going home right now).
    In general, though, we just practice it to make sure they don't do some of the things you've mentioned. Recently one of my boys likes to find out what choice his brother has made so he can make the same one when I am giving him a choice. My response is, "it doesn't matter what he picks. I want to know what YOU want". 
  5. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I also think it's okay to not worry about it. From the small bit you've described here it doesn't sound like your twins are pathologically dependent on each other and I'd be inclined to not push independence too hard if they're pushing that hard back. Try again in a few months. At this age, they're changing and developing so quickly that a few months may be all that's needed for them to want to start spending some time alone.

    On the flip side, if you would prefer to start working on individual time now then I think you need to stick to it when you say just one is going with a parent on an outing/errand. Know that they're going to be upset about it (they're allowed to be), acknowledge and empathize with how they're feeling but don't change the plan.
  6. mom2gc

    mom2gc Well-Known Member

    Thank you for all the advice. I will do a lot more "think throughs" with them before we take them on separate outings.  Preparing them more might just do the trick and sticking to our plans.
  7. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    It might not necessarily be all about missing each other when they are seperate.  They may also be wondering if they are missing out on something fun. 
    The rare occasions that I can do seperate activities with them I get lots of well what do xyz do, did he pick the same activity, I want to do the same thing, did he have fun etc. After I ask them questions about it while they do miss each other its more that one got to do something they did not.  Its not always that they are dependent on each other... they just don't want to miss out.  Missing each other can contribute to it but some of it is just making sure the other isn't doing something super fun and they won't get to do it. 
    Plus if they have a fit and get their way they are getting what they want and extra attention. 
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