Twin Etiquette 101: Playdates, Birthdays and More

Same DNA, Very Different Personalities and Style

As a mom of identical twin girls, I know it can be confusing when inviting my children to play. My girls are in different classes, but they share many of the same friends. I appreciate you not wanting the other child to feel left out, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t always have to include both.

If you aren’t with my girls every day, it can be difficult to tell them apart. While they are one of three sets of twins in their grade, they are the only set of identical twins. In preschool the kids often called them “IzzyZoe” – which was pretty smart considering they would always be correct. Now that they are in third grade, most of their friends have learned who is who – and if there is any confusion – they feel comfortable enough to ask. Chances are, your child is better friends with whomever is in his or her class, but they all play together at recess. 

Playdates should be easy, but I know they can be a lot of work. Please do not ever feel like you must invite both of my girls over for a playdate. Ask your child who they play with more and go with their answer. My children compete for attention every day of their life — both at home and at school. Having a separate playdate is such a treat for them (even though sometimes a joint playdate with a bestie can work out great!).

Sometimes They Are Happy to Share Their Friends

When it comes to birthday parties, the same general rule applies. However, please be specific when you send an electronic invite as to whether you are inviting one child, or both. It’s uncomfortable for the parent to ask whether the invite includes one or both. No one wants to feel like they are imposing! This is especially important when a child decides to invite only the girls in their class, but then you notice some extra girls are on the guest list.

The good news is that if you invite both girls, you will get two presents. If you are only inviting one, it’s a great lesson for my girls to learn they aren’t always a pair and will have different experiences!

My girls have a Summer birthday and we love to celebrate. Eight years ago they came into the world at 12:01am and 12:03am. I really wanted one to be born on June 25 to allow them each their special day. As much as I continue to explain how special it is to be a twin and have a special sibling connection, these two aren’t buying it. So please, if you are a guest at their birthday, please bring separate gifts. They do not want to share a gift. 

When it comes to gifts, a lot of people ask whether they should buy two of the same thing. My pre-mom self would have said, never buy the same item. Now as a mom of 8.5 year old twin girls, I always recommend to duplicate. If it comes in a slightly different style or color, that’s even better. 

Growing up, I only recall one set of twins in my high school. I remember thinking they looked so much alike, but they were completely fraternal. I am sure there were more, but it wasn’t as common. If you’re wondering, identical sets of twins are completely spontaneous, while fraternal twins are hereditary.

I often think of how hard I tried to differentiate myself as a tween and teen, and how much more challenging that might be as an identical twin. I know they will always have each other – even though sometimes they prefer to be otherwise. Until then, thank you for helping them to feel like the special individuals they deserve to be!

Moms of multiples, do you have anything else to add? Comment below!

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Jessica Grutkowski moved to Fairfield County from Brooklyn after the birth of her identical twin girls in 2008. Having grown up in Manhattan and gone to high school in Greenwich, CT, the area isn't new to her, but navigating life with multiples in the burbs certainly took getting used to. Jess enjoys being involved in and supporting the local community and isn't afraid to show off her Fairfield pride. Recently she and her husband Alex launched The Buzz Truck, a mobile coffee truck serving up organic, locally roasted coffee and treats. Jess also volunteers on the PTA and for her favorite local charities, Little Black Dog Rescue and Near & Far Aid.


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