Mom Talk: The Twins Go to Kindergarten
By Danita Tegethoff, Avera Marketing Coordinator
As the mom of twins, I’m used to getting lots of questions that stem from people’s curiosity about multiples. Do twins run in your family? Do you feed them at the same time? Do they sleep in the same room? Can one tell if the other is hurting? Are they identical? (This one makes me laugh every time as I have boy/girl twins.) But this last year brought the question, “Are you keeping them in the same class or separating them?”
This question did not have an easy and obvious answer. My twins turned 5, and kindergarten registration was looming. Should I keep them together as they adjust to school so they at least have the comfort of each other? Should I split them up now since they were already going through such a big change? I don’t think there’s a universal correct answer to this question for parents of multiples because every child is different, but these are the things I took into consideration to make my decision.
- Does your school let you choose? Schools may have different policies on whether or not parents have a say in which class a child is enrolled. Our elementary school left it up to parents to decide to keep twins together in a class or separate them.
- Have your twins been split up previously? If your kids attend a large daycare center where there are multiple classrooms per age group, they may have already experienced being apart from one another for a good chunk of the day. Twins with stay-at-home moms or who go to an in-home daycare have likely been together most every day. Mine went to an in-home daycare age 0-5, so they were used to the other one being around almost all the time. In preschool, the teacher put them in separate small groups, so they did have a taste of freedom from each other for one year.
- What type of personality does each child have? Twins are like any siblings in that they come with a variety of personalities. Some twins have a dominant twin who does all the talking or bosses the other one around. One twin may be dependent on the other. Kids who are shy or reserved might struggle enough with the adjustment to a school setting that you wouldn’t want to take away the safety net of their twin’s presence. Separating them might give each child a chance to grow.
- Tell your twins what your decision is ahead of time. Once my husband and I decided to put our twins in separate kindergarten classes, I told them right away so they could get used to the idea before school started. I explained they would each have their own teacher and see each other intermittently throughout the day. Their school was very supportive and put them in classrooms right next to each other so they had the same break and lunch times and could see each other in the hallway and at recess.
Overall, they’re doing really well in separate classrooms. I think it has let them be their own individual self, make their own friends and learn at their own ability. They can still get “twin time” at lunch or recess.
There are days when one is upset because the other one’s class had birthday treats, iPad time, or read a special book, and that’s when they ask me, “Why did you put us in different classes?”
However, it’s probably been harder on me than them. I have two teachers to communicate with. They sometimes have different assignments or projects to work on. There are two different library schedules to track when books need to go back to school and two different gym days to make sure they’re wearing tennis shoes. But if that’s the worst of it, I’ll take it!
As a mom, you know your twins and what each one needs. Trust your instinct to choose what is best for them.
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