Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

“So are you putting your twins in different classes this year?” This is a question I am often asked (right after “are they identical,” and “do twins run in your family?”) Not only friends or other moms of multiples, but strangers on the street want to know my school plans! At birth, I could never imagine a time where I would want them apart. They were preemies, they were perfect together, they NEEDED each other in a way my singleton did not.

As toddlers, I read every article and sought out all opinions on separating twins at school. I was determined to keep them together: kindergarten is so big, the day is so long, my older daughter was slow to adapt to kindergarten, and I just thought they would benefit from each other’s support in the classroom. Fast forward four years: the boys are more different than they are alike, and while both have strong personalities, one is more outgoing and social, the other longs to be included.

This September, my boys will begin their “4s” year at a small, cooperative preschool in separate classrooms. They were together the previous two years, so this will be a new experience for all of us. However, being apart for the 2.5 hour preschool day will give them an opportunity to establish their own skills, likes and dislikes, and friendships, instead of being thought of as a unit by teachers and friends. Things have changed–as a Mom I have grown to appreciate and celebrate their individualness and want them to learn independence in preparation for elementary school. Their elementary school is big and the principal encourages separation of twins.

In the back of my head, I hold this experience as a test for myself–if this experiment truly bombs and both boys are unhappy, then I will fight tooth and nail to put them together for kindergarten. If one boy is unhappy and the other one is fine, which is one of my fears, I don’t know what I will do. Not to mention my fears for the rest of their education and beyond: what if one has a great teacher, and the other has an okay teacher, and they do not receive the same educational opportunities? Ugh.

This was not an easy change of heart, and my stomach still clinches tight when I think about it. I have come to see how my thoughts of them as “brothers who happened to come out at the same time” impacts all aspects of their lives and putting them in different 4s classes and eventually kindergarten follows this path. Is it the right choice? We will have to wait and see.

So, when are you planning to separate your multiples?

Leslie is a freelance writer and mother to an amazing 7 year old girl and two adventurous 4 year old boys who is counting the minutes until school starts.

9 thoughts on “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

  1. Good luck with the big change! I’m sure they’ll do great. It’ll be an adjustment and they’ll probably be touchy/whiny/cranky for the first little bit, but I’m sure they’ll do great. Still the same school, right? That way the surroundings are familiar, just new configuration. I bet it will be nice to get a break from each other.

  2. My twins are still quite young (16 months) and together all day at daycare. I’ve done a lot of research and asked a lot of people what they have done. The only reason I’ve heard so far for keeping them together that I understood was one couple who did it because their son has aspergers. Having his twin sister with him during the day helped him adjust to school for the first year or two. I think they split the kids at second grade. So I’ve decided, if my kids have social problems, I will keep them together. If they are normal kids (which is my hope), I will separate them in kindergarten (or preschool if possible). I know it will be hard, mostly for me, but my personal feeling is that separating them will help my kids grow and that is my goal as a parent. It is a truly personal choice as to when.

  3. I definitely think of my girls as “sisters who happen to share a birthday” BUT I don’t know what I will do for their schooling. For example, I would NEVER want to hold only one of them back. Even though if they were different ages, I would feel comfortable holding one back. Its hard being a twin mom! Go with your gut and reevaluate as needed. Good luck and happy school year!

  4. I love reading your thoughts on this! I have 4 week old fraternal twin boys and although it will be a long time before we are faced with school decisions it is something I have already thought about. My two seem so perfect together, right now they seem like they need each other. They love being close to each other and will wrap their arms around the other if he is upset or crying, I couldn’t imagine separating them. But at the same time it may be what is best for them! I am interested to hear how they do! Good luck! It is so to know exactly what to do sometimes and everyone’s path looks different. It sounds like you are making a wise decision! Thank you for sharing!

  5. I separated my girls starting in kindergarten, and they are now in first grade and separated again. I really agonized over the decision to separate them. I asked them what they wanted and one said together while the other said separated. We finally decided to separate because we thought they would both benefit from having some time to be an individual rather than a pair. I am so glad we separated them and they are so happy this way. They sometimes talk about what it would be like to be in the same class, but they really enjoy having their own friends, their own teachers, etc. It is such a tough choice, but we are happy with our decision.

  6. My girls are now entering 4th grade. I have had the blessing of seeing them in different stages of their school development. I felt strongly, in the beginning, that they should be together – but the school they were attending, split them. I was really mad, but it was the school’s policy. Long story short, we moved and I had the opportunity to put them together. While they developed at their own pace, they did not have a chance during this time to devlop their own social skills. They relied too much on the other twins social ability. We moved again halfway through the 2nd grade, where I decided to put them in different classes.

    They are now entering fourth and I feel good about our decision to separate them. I think that putting them together for preschool and kindergarten allowed them to learn how to play separatelym while safely knowing the other twin is was still their. As they get older, we weighed their social needs against their desire to be together. They needed to be separated. The older they get, the more I see this. I have another set of twins who are boys – so it will be interesting to see what they will bring! Good luck!

  7. I am a twin myself and long ago attended pre school with my twin but separated at kindergarten in the same school and remained separate ever since. Of course usually we think what we experienced ourselves is best, but I have always felt that the separation allowed us to develop our own friendships and gain confidence as individuals. In fact, it wasn’t until middle school/high school when all classes were mixed that people in school began referring to us as the “twins”, which actually caused more problems than pluses as we entered those volatile teen years. I now have identical twin boys of my own and plan on happily letting them go their ways in kindergarten.

  8. We considered putting our girls into separate classes for this, their third year of preschool, because there seemed to be some issues where the other girls in the class were including more socially adept of the girls and excluding the other.

    We ended up keeping them together, and will probably keep them together in Kindergarten, too, as we feel like it will help them adjust to a new, much bigger school, better. But after that, we will probably separate them.

    Everything we’ve ever heard from adult twins (like Abby!) is that they really appreciated being separated so they could make their own friends, and forge their own identity outside of being “the twins” (something we never call them, incidentally.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>