On average, twins are about six months behind single babies in their language development.
There are several reasons why twins may be slower to pick up speech and language skills:
- Twins tend to receive less attention in shorter bursts than single babies.
- Parents often speak to one twin while looking at the other, but children need eye contact to help their language development.
- Twins tend to spend more time with each other, so they pick up each other's speech rather than that of adults and older children around them.
- Twins have less time to practise speech as they compete to get themselves heard.
- Sometimes one twin may answer for the other.
There's no reason to worry if your twins seem to be slow to speak. Just try to make sure they have plenty of time to talk and express themselves.
Talking to twin babies
Nappy changes can be a good opportunity to give twins one-on-one attention, or you could bathe them separately at night to give you time to chat with each baby individually.
You can also:
- Turn off the TV and radio for at least 30 minutes each day, so your babies can listen to the noises around them with no distractions.
- Listen to your babies and respond to them as they experiment with different sounds.
- Try to play and read books with your babies individually.
Make time to talk to your babies individually each day, using their name and making eye contact.
- Encourage older siblings, friends and family to talk to your babies one to one.
Read more on how to encourage language skills in children.
Twins & Multiple Births Association (Tamba) has information on twins and language. Tamba also has a free telephone helpline. Twinline is open every day from 10am to 1pm and 7pm to 10pm on 0800 138 0509.
If you're concerned about your children's language skills, talk to your GP or health visitor.
Article provided by NHS Choices