11 ways for parents of twins to celebrate the individuality of their little ones

/ Source: TODAY
By Rebekah Lowin

How can you help your multiples form their own identities and express their individuality, while still encouraging their bond?

We asked followers of our TODAY Parents Facebook page to share comments and photos on the topic, and we've compiled our favorite tidbits of advice (and adorable photos!) below.

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Darby Allen

1. Don't call them "the twins."

"We have identical twin boys who will be 9 tomorrow (time flies)! While they will always have a very strong connection, we have resisted the urge to call them 'the twins' in favor of 'the boys' or their individual names, usually ... I think respecting their individual personalities and encouraging their individual interests is helpful while recognizing that they will always be very close to their closest sibling." —Cindi Brothers

2. Consider signing them up for different activities.

"We take our twins out individually and sign them up for different activities, and they love it! They miss each other when they aren't together, so the reunion is sweet." —Kimberly Fair

Michelle Hansen Field

3. Don't assume you need to dress them alike.

"When we found out we were having identical twins, we assumed they would look, well — identical. They have begun to change and look more alike than ever, but still very easy to tell apart. We always have dressed them differently. Not only to make sure we know who we fed, etc., and in case they were at the sitters, but basically we are fortunate enough to get hand-me-downs from family and friends so most of the time there aren't two (sets of the) same clothes. As they've grown, they've developed their own style." —Beth Huff

Betsy Rivenbark Beaman

4. But if you do, that's cool, too.

" I always dress them alike because they look so different. I know this will not last forever, so it's fun at this age." —Betsy Rivenbark Beaman

Candice Curry

4. Allow them to learn at their own speed.

"In school, I used to worry about them being apart as they're always together with no other siblings. But we've found separating them is extremely beneficial. It gives them their own social identity with friends and they learn in their own ways at different paces, plus one boy was depending on his brother to do all his work for him. Separate classes ends that struggle." —Beth Huff

5. There's no need to rhyme.

"My identical twin boys turn 4 on Friday! We gave them distinct names (not rhyming or alliterative)." —Laurel Weller Noe

Jessica Weisenberger

6. If they choose to act alike, it's OK to go with it.

"I try not to worry too much about their identity and my involvement in it, I just let them live and be kids. I do my part in exposing them to many things, and they definitely have some similarities and some differences, just like any siblings. If they want to dress alike, they can. If they pick different outfits, that's fine, too." —Chelsea Ballard

7. Let them be themselves.

"We don't make a big deal out of it. We celebrate differences and allow each child to develop their own interests." —Jessica Weisenberger

Sheryl Sims Pesnell

8. Spread out their "baby's first" (and "kid's first") moments. They don't have to share every life landmark.

"This year has been full of defining moments for our twins. They got different hair cuts for the first time ever, they dress differently, and one's playing football while the other isn't." —Sheryl Sims Pesnell

Lesley Glenn O'Donnell

9. Have some one-on-one time with each of them separately.

"Jackson and Ashlyn are very close, but we try to spend time with them one-on-one. Even just taking one to the store while Daddy stays home with the other kids (is beneficial)." —Lesley Glenn O'Donnell

Kelly Patterson

10. Don't stress about fostering any "twin bonds."

"There is no need to encourage their bond. It is natural!" —Kathleen Kelly Jakubowski

11. At the end of the day, they're just like any siblings.

"They do enjoy beating the crap out each other for fun on a daily basis." —Kelly Patterson