Teaching others to tell your children apart

There are lots of perks that come with having multiples. You’ve got more cheeks to kiss, more personalities to discover, and more milestones to celebrate, to name a few. But then there are also the not-so-perks of having multiples, such as spending lots of time helping other people distinguish between them.

As the parent, you’ve got your own ways of distinguishing them from one another. But these might not be so easily explained to people who don’t know them as well as you do – which is everyone else, basically. Here are some things you can do to make it easier for people to tell your multiples apart.

Dress them differently

For every cute ‘peas in a pod’ matching multiples set you buy, there will be a confused grandparent who just can’t seem to remember which baby is which. These matching outfits are no doubt adorable on your babies, but whenever possible, it will probably be easier for people to quickly tell the multiples apart by matching a name to a color or pattern.

Use rhyme or alliteration

Here’s a chance to flex your creative muscles. Try to think of a quick and simple phrase or rhyme that people can recite to themselves to remember who’s who. The trick is to make it accurate and catchy, or at least easy to remember! Here are some examples that parents say works for them:

  • “Grace is in green, Drew is in blue”
  • “Rebecca has a freckle”
  • “Annie’s wearing an anklet”

As multiples get older, they can grow to resent being identified by physical or other visual clues. You can probably imagine that a 16-year-old twin named Molly might resent being identified by her mole, for example. So you’ll want to be sensitive to that. But for now, they’re young enough for it to be okay.

At daycare or in school

As your multiples make their way through the daycare and school system, they’re going to encounter a lot of teachers who have a hard time telling them apart. It’s inevitable that teachers are going to struggle a little bit, but there are some things you can do to at least make things go a little more smoothly in a day care/school setting.

Making sure teachers or daycare providers know which of your multiples is which is, of course, especially important if one of them has an allergy, or needs to take a medication, especially when they’re still too young to advocate for themselves. In these cases, color coding and regular reminders become even more important.

  • Daily introductions: When you drop them off each morning, bring your multiples up to the teacher or supervisor and point out who’s who.
  • Encourage questions: Sometimes people feel rude asking for names, so remind adults and kids that it’s totally appropriate for them to ask the multiples their name.

It can be hard for people to tell young siblings apart. And it’s only natural for others to mix up your multiples when they’re this age. Try not to get too frustrated when you explain for the hundredth time who’s who – not everyone knows them like you do!

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