Twins language development can be slightly delayed, compared to singleton children. On average twins can be around 6 months behind other children in their language development. Please remember, this is only an average figure and some twins are not delayed with language at all. I believe, it is just something to be aware of, so you can try to help your twins with their language to prevent there being a problem.
As a very general rule twins:
- can be older when they first start talking
- their vocabulary is smaller
- they use baby talk for longer
- what they do say is usually shorter and simpler
Don’t panic, twins may be at greater risk of delayed language development, but most still develop language with no problems at all.
Tips to help your twins language development
- Talk to babies - from very early on, talk to your babies, using eye contact. Talk to your babies individually.
- Encourage children to say what they want – it can be quicker and easier to anticipate what your child wants, but try to let them say it.
- Read books – try to sit and read books with each child individually. Use picture books and try to get your children to participate in talking about the book/story/pictures. 1 to 1 time is best.
- Use their names – address each child individually at the start of each sentence.
- Don’t let one twin speak for the other – ask each child individually about their day etc.
- Be a role-model – show them how to speak correctly and clearly.
- Repeat words correctly when they get it wrong – don’t make a big thing of the child pronouncing something wrong, just repeat the word back to them correctly and move on.
- Encourage speech – encourage your children to talk by asking them questions.
Twins are often known to develop their own language between them (cryptophasia). Some research suggests that up to 40% of twins speak a ‘secret language’.
Research suggests that this is the result of one twin copying the speech or language pattern of the other twin with all the mistakes included. Therefore, the result being a very disordered, unrecognisable language developed between the two twins.
Reasons for this phenomenon:
- Twins are very good at understanding each other
- twins often make similar mistakes
- twins tend to reinforce each others mistakes, which makes them persist longer
However, if you listen really carefully to the twins own language, you will probably be able to work out what is being said, so it is just simply a case of immature language between 2 people where they make exactly the same mistakes.