With twins, it’s often assumed that we purchase two of everything for our girls. This is not the case. While there are definitely items that require each of the girls to have their own, like car seats and beds, most of the materials they have, particularly those we have on their shelves, are singular.
Like a Montessori classroom, the girls learn to wait their turn until the materials they wish to use become available.
This is how they’ve come to learn patience and to take turns. We don’t force sharing, but we do encourage the taking of turns.
There are certain activities that we provide two of or, at the very least, the ability that both can work together. One of these is sensory work, containers with individual materials in separate compartments that allow them to explore the senses and free play. It’s important that they have the opportunity to explore their own, in their own way, and that’s not something they can necessarily separate making it fresh for the next. Also, they each need their own as I use these to observe different needs.
For items of comfort, they each have their own. The same with stuffed animals, which are usually gifted by others (we try to rotate these around frequently). No one should be forced to share something that is necessary and here, comfort is a necessity.
How do we go about taking turns?
Most of the time they don’t need me to interfere, they happily tell each other when they are ready to pass it along to their sister for a bit. This works because they both do this. If one didn’t pass the material along so willingly, it would offer up challenges.
We also use the challenges that come with taking turns as an opportunity to problem-solve. It requires them to work together to find a way that works best for each other, learning to listen and understand the other person’s side while learning to constructively share theirs.
There are times it’s difficult to take turns that they aren’t able to solve on their own as something is too intriguing or they just aren’t in the mood. (To clarify, we don’t enforce sharing or generally taking turns, but there are situations, such as with something I have and they’d like to see, that prior to providing we mention that they will need to allow their sister a chance to see it. This is when there is a time limit on accessibility.) When this happens I ask if they’d like me to set a timer so they each get time. In cases like this, I try to make it so that they each get, at least, two turns with the material. This allows them to have observed how the other interacts with it and have another go around if they’d like to explore it in another way and so on.
What do you have two of?