Celebrating Birthdays With Twins and Multiples

twin boys celebrating birthday
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Birthdays are a big milestone for twins and other multiples. After all, it is one of the first things they share as they begin their life. That said, celebrating birthdays in a meaningful way that makes each child feel special and unique can be a challenge.

Here are some suggestions to help make birthdays memorable and happy events for everyone involved.

Keep It Simple

When you've already got a houseful, it can help to limit the number of guests at a birthday party. A general rule of thumb for singletons is to invite one child per year of age—for example, three guests for a three-year-old, four for a four-year-old.

That ratio is generally also appropriate for multiples. If you're ambitious and can afford to, it's not unreasonable to increase it proportionally for twins, triplets, or more.

Ensure that parties produce happy memories for both guests and hosts by planning age-appropriate activities. Two-year-olds don't need circus rides and a magician. They will probably be overwhelmed by too much hype.

Remember Who the Party Is Really For

If it's your multiples' first birthday, surely you are the one that deserves a party! As the children get older, allow them to have input on party planning and preparation.

Be honest with your kids about what you can reasonably provide for a party, both in terms of ability and budget. Before you start party planning, be sure your kids have realistic expectations.

Consider Alternative Celebrations

Some parents may wish to show respect for each child's individuality by creating separate events. One creative strategy is to celebrate a "half birthday" six months after the actual birth date.

Talk to your children about their feelings. Many adult multiples say that sharing a birthday, and the associated festivities, is actually part of the fun of growing up as a multiple. When I suggested that my twin daughters take cupcakes to school on separate days, they were horrified. "No Mommy!" they exclaimed. "It's both our birthdays and we want to be together."

Get Two for the Price of One

Birthdays can be one way for parents of multiples catch a break. It's easier to plan (and pay for) one party per year than two separate events.

Professional party services will generally charge the same amount for a twin birthday party as for a single child, with perhaps a small additional fee for the second set of balloons or an additional commemorative T-shirt.

What to Do About Cake

One of the biggest challenges for parents of multiples is whether to provide a separate birthday cake for each child. Once multiples are old enough to have a preference, they should ideally be the ones to determine the answer.

Cupcakes are an easy and highly customizable solution to the birthday cake dilemma for younger children.

Regardless of the number of cakes, all children deserve to hear "Happy Birthday to You" sung in their honor. Before they blow out their candles, sing the special tune separately—and all the way through—for each child.

Give Thought to Gift Giving

Party guests and givers alike will likely wonder whether they should get separate gifts for each multiple. There is no defined protocol or easy answer; like so many issues with multiples, it all depends on the children and their personalities.​

In some cases, a single gift that can be shared may be more fun than individual items. A board game, video, or sandbox are all examples of this type of gift. In other instances, it's appropriate to give presents that are similar in a category but unique in detail, such as dolls with different attire or trucks in different colors.

However, sometimes it's easier all around to just give everyone the same thing—it's one less thing to argue about!

By Pamela Prindle Fierro
 Pamela Prindle Fierro is the author of several parenting books and the mother of twin girls.