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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Twins Development Steps: Toddlers to Pre-School Years
Twins Development Steps: Toddlers to Pre-School Years

In the second stage of our twins development guide, we look at the early years where it starts to get interesting! There is so much happening; walking, talking, toddler tantrums and multiple mayhem! These formative years are when their personalities are developed and they first start to gain some independence and, most importantly, individuality.....

12-18 months

It's often said that a twin grows up with a built-in playmate, but each child's temperament, abilities and interests determine how well multiples interact. Twins share a great bond, but its one thing to share a womb or a birthday and quite another to share a toy! I read this and it about sums it up When my friends had children, the first words their kids said was mummy but when my twins started talking, the first word they said was mine!

Before the age of two, children engage in parallel play that is, they play alone albeit next to each other. Learning to take turns, share and co-operative play comes later, usually around 3 years old. Having a sense of ownership is important and twins should be given their own toys but by providing activities that can be shared e.g. building blocks, colouring activities etc toddler twins can play side by side and are less likely to bicker.

Physical

Social

Language

Cognitive

Pulls up to a stand, cruises holding on and then starts to walk

Bangs two objects together, puts object in container, stack blocks

Scribbles with crayon

Feeds self with spoon and drinks from cup

Waves bye-bye

Plays games like peek-a-boo & pat-a-cake

Gives kisses & hugs

Greets people with hi

Understands humour, will laugh at funny faces or games

First words - talks in single words

Responds to simple verbal requests

Uses simple gestures, shakes head for no

Tries to imitate words, uses exclamations such as Oh-oh!

Explores objects in many ways; shaking, banging, throwing

Finds hidden objects

Looks at correct picture when named

Begins to use objects properly, brushing hair, dialling phone

18-24 months

The twin relationship often leads to many confrontations which require limits set on behaviour, often at a much earlier age (around 12m) than with a single child. They may refuse to stop when you say no or act aggressively to one another; hitting/biting/pushing, pulling hair, and/or grabbing toys from each other. Set limits by clearly identifying the kinds of behaviours you wont permit, for instance, physical aggression, follow through with action like using a time-out step or deprive the child of a toy or activity they like. However, dont always intervene, but let the children work out problems for themselves.

Physical

Social

Language

Cognitive

Walks without help and begins to run!

Walks up and down stairs holding on

Kicks and rolls a ball

Turns pages of a book

Builds tower of four or more blocks

Shows sympathy to others, comforts them

Aware of co-twin, will play side-by-side each other but not together

Sometimes says no when interrupted

Imitates adults and playmates

Lots of chatter, uses 10 recognisable words

Can and will follow simple instructions

Recognises names of familiar people, objects and parts of the body

Repeats words heard in conversations

Can match object in hand to picture in book

Sorts objects by shape, size and colour

Completes puzzles with 3-4 pieces

Plays make-believe with dolls, animals and people

2 - 3 years

Ah, the age of twin tantrums! Although it may be difficult to cope with two children going through this stage at the same time, there is something to be said for the beauty of the relationship between twins at this age. Competition aside, twins may stand up for the rights of a sibling scorned, and provide each other with encouragement and incentive to develop and excel. Potty training is a good example where the lead twin encourages the other one to also become interested in learning sometimes competition is good!

Physical

Social

Language

Cognitive

Climbs on equipment like slides or ladders

Walks up and down stairs one foot per step, bends without falling

Draws or copies vertical lines, scribbles with circular motion

Cuts with small safety scissors, turns handles, likes stringing beads

Shows spontaneous affection for play- mates and co-twin

Understands concept of mine & his/hers

Helps with simple household tasks, imitates parent/carer

Increase independence & defiant behaviour (toddler tantrums x 2!)

Answers questions (and asks a lot!)

Speaks clearly and is understood, competes with co-twin to talk

Talks in sentences 2-4 words long, 50 words ( 2yrs) to 200 (3yrs)

Can say name, age and gender, uses pronouns (I, you, me , we, they)

Understands simple stories, points in book to familiar activities

Learns to count 1, 2, 3 and understands what these numbers mean

Learns to potty train, (start after 2yrs old)

Understand physical relationships (on, under, over, in, out)

3-5 years

As your twins grow, you may begin to see differences in height, weight, personality etc as every twin is unique in some way. Depending on your twins, these differences may be embraced or cause discomfort, especially when pointed out by other people. Constant comparisons may make a twin self-conscious and they may start to show signs of low self-esteem, such as withdrawing, acting up, or just being sad. It's important for parents (and carers) to get them to talk about their feelings, to provide help and to educate others.

Physical

Social

Language

Cognitive

Runs, hops and skips!

Rides tricycle, climbs well, jumps & swings

Draws or copies circles and squares

Prints first name (may manage short names!)

Draws person with 2-4 parts (head, eyes, nose, mouth, body, legs )

Protective & sensitive to the needs of others

Views self as a whole person, involving mind, body & feelings

Can take turns in games, plays with co-twin co-operatively

Able to dress/undress, toilet trained, washes face without help

Using most speech sounds correctly and has basic grammar

Asks questions, mostly why? and how?

Speaks in sentences of 5-6 words

Counting to 10

Reads a few letters, prints a few numbers

Understands the concept of counting

Correctly names all of the basic colours

Understands the concept of the same and different

Recalls parts of a story

Engages in fantasy play & invents games


Read More Language and Development Tips for Twins and Triplets

Read More on Twins and Triplets - Preparing for School



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