Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Preparing Twins for School : Separate twins or not?

The new school year is months away but many parents are making decisions about their kids schooling for next year now so we thought we would share this post again about twins, schooling and the separate/don't separate dilemma.  Hope you find our experience interesting and helpful.
Advice from 2 twin moms who have been in your twins' shoes- 
      Okay, so since we are twins, we have had many experiences that helped define us.  One of those experiences was when we were separated in school for Kindergarten.  We have some ideas for sure about what we thought went right and wrong throughout this separation and thought some of these insights might be helpful to other parents of twins.
So here are a few of those ideas and insights and some words of advice from us, 2 twin moms who had to go through this separation process.  Hope the ideas and opinions help you make sending your kids/twins to school a little easier and help a little in your decision as to whether you should separate or not separate your twins.

1. Decide based on YOUR twins and their personalities/needs...
whether you think they need each other for the first year of school or if they would be better off in different classrooms.  You are a far better judge as their parent as to whether they should have each other in the same room or not.  IE. Will they help each other in a positive way or distract each other?  Will one be too reliant on the other and not grow as they could as individuals? Is one more academically advanced and could cause the other twin to feel behind and less successful?  Do you need to help them start to make their own friendships and foster their own individuality?  Are they secure apart or will their reliance on each other at such a young age cause academic problems if they're separated?...
We definitely did not like being separated at Kindergarten but when we look back, it was a good decision on our parents part.  Cathy was very reliant on Becca and so it was a good year of growth for her since she had to do more for herself.  Plus both of us were comfortable in our own skin over all so separation did not take away from our academics due to stress or anything.  We just missed one another a lot but we made lots of new friends of our own and were able to step out of each others shadows a bit.
2. If possible, make play dates ahead of time with other classmates in order to make the transition to school easier on everyone.  Also, if you plan on separating your twins into different classrooms, make sure you allow them one-on-one play dates with school friends so that the bond between the friend and twin can be built up.  If the other twin is there, the strong relationship they have might cause them to defer to each other for play time rather then the friend.
3. Let the twins decide if they want to dress the same or not.  We did not mind being dressed the same but I know some twin friends who HATED it.  We had strong opinions by 5 years old and clear ideas about what we liked so try to respect that in your twins.  They will appreciate it later.

4.  If you can meet up ahead of time with the teacher/teachers to discuss what you would like to see happen regarding your twins needs, and to get advice on if they should be separated or kept together, that is a huge help with the decision making process for parents. Most teachers have seen this situation come through their doors many times and may be a big help in finalizing you plans for your kids.  Also, letting teachers know ahead of time how you want your twins' experience to go as twins as well as as separate people is helpful to both your reassurance that all is going as you hope it will as well as helpful in allowing the teacher to teach effectively to your twins.

5.  Please, please, please, give your twins a good few weeks heads-up about your plans for them for school.  We were not well prepared for the separation that took place on our first day of school.  IT WAS UGLY!  We both sobbed and Cathy took hours to get on track since she was much more reliant on Becca.  We can confidently say that if we had had more of a heads up re. the separation plan and had had some help preparing for it a bit mentally, we would have most definitely handled the day a bit better.  Plus the teachers would have had it a whole lot easier too.

6.  Definitely try to give them a tour of the school the Springtime before they start and let them know during that tour that they may be together but they may also be in separate rooms.  Talk to them a little about how they feel about that.  They may be just fine with the idea, or they may hate it and this will help you decided how to prepare them for the fall school year starting up.

7.  Things you could say to your twins ahead of time that may help them with classroom separation and that are sure to help them get through that first day...
*You will see each other at the bathroom, or have lunch together.
*Your teacher will give you a class buddy who will be like your twin for the day.  You can rely on them as much as you need to just like you would "your twin"(See if the buddy system is something your kid's teacher/s use)
*You will be at recess at the same time and can play with one another then (Remind them to include each other that 1st day when possible so both feel okay)
*You can ask your teacher if you can go see your twin at __________time. (this is a good thing to discuss ahead of time with teacher if you can since some schools will have this option and some may not.)
*You can sit with your twin at lunchtime (Check ahead of time to see if this is an option at least on day 1.)
*We can have a special dinner together after school and you both can tell each other 3 things you liked and disliked about the day and about the fact that you were in different rooms.

Becca and I Age 3
We think being honest with your kids is key to a healthy, happy first day of school.  They may complain a bit ahead of time which won't be as fun for the parents but in the end, the feeling of preparation and security that they have will make their school days more successful and fun since they will both know what to expect.

Good luck -
Cathy and Becca


  1. This is a really cute site. I'm jealous of your bond as sisters and mothers!
    Thanks for following!

  2. Great post hon! You almost sound like you know what you're talking about!

  3. Thanks Eric- What a twisted compliment that is but I will take it. We do know a thing or two about parenting, teaching and being twins ya' know LOL

  4. :-) Hey, following back from Measuring Flower. Thanks for visiting! I hope you have a great day!

  5. Such a cutevpost. Love to look at your life as twins! And the pictures, are precious!

  6. I love twins. Had twin friends when I was growing up and really wished I could have them. It didn't work out though, but I still love twins. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Great site! Thanks for stopping by and following, following you back :)

  8. Nice job! Glad your back from vacation and back to blogging! Let's meet up soon!!!

  9. I'm sure it was not easy to be separated as kids. I hope their first day back to school goes as well as they expected to be.
    Glad you stopped by Espanol para Ninos (Spanish for Kids).
    Wishing you a wonderful day,
    Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

  10. I'd imagine separating twins for school would be REALLY hard!!!

  11. Thanks so much for visiting my site. Growing up I always admired twins, they always seem so close. I am six years older than my sister and my mom still dressed us I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  12. This is so fascinating to read. It is such a different world as a twin, that you would never know unless someone pointed it out. Great blog!
    Thanks for coming by Mommy LaDy Club:)

  13. I always thought that it was weird when twins were separated during school. I don't know why I thought it was so strange but I guess I Thought they should always be together! I think it's awesome that you have a site up for parents of twinnies. I have a few friends who have twins that I will be sharing this site with. :)

  14. Great post. Glad to hear from the mouth of grown up twins so I an apply this to my babies when they're of school age

  15. Ah, a topic near to my heart right now. My twins are starting preschool in two weeks, in separate classrooms! Everyone, even teachers and other twin parents, seem shocked by this. It's our choice, and my girls are totally fine with it -- they are looking forward to school a lot. Here is my post about it:

    I know there are a ton of variables to consider and that putting twins together sometimes is the right option. For me I just want my girls to have that space of their own to learn and grow, where they are known by others by name and as individuals. Starting school is a big deal for any kid -- and most of them (in the singleton world) face the challenge without a buddy -- and make the adjustment just fine. I hope (and am fairly certain) it will be a good, positive experience for my girls as well!