When it comes to multiples starting school, the main question every parent has to consider is "should they be in the same class, or should they be separated". This obviously is only a point of consideration if your school has more than one class per year, and it is also worth checking your schools policy, as some schools may have a policy regarding multiple birth families.
As parents of girl/boy twins who started school this year, this was something that we discussed a lot. In the end, we decided to keep them together for the first year, and then we will rely on teacher's advice, the kids' personal input and our thoughts to make the decision for next year.
These are the reasons that we decided to keep our twins together for the first year of school.
- There is currently no research to state that splitting multiples up in the first year of school is beneficial (unless there are underlying issues).
- Should the there be a problem, they would be of comfort to each other during the transition to school. Also, if they struggled with making friendships they would have each other.
- Being a girl and a boy they naturally have their own interests and have different strengths and weaknesses.
- Being non identical, and girl/boy the teacher is less likely to compare them to each other.
- When speaking to their previous kindergarten teacher, they had no concerns that would warrant us splitting them up.
- They are not dependant on each other. They do comfort each other, and they do know that the other 'has their back' so to speak if they feel the need for some reassurance. I've seen them be a bit uncertain in an unfamiliar location and hold each other's hand. But as soon as they are confident they are off and away and doing their own thing.
- They get along amazingly well and when they do have conflict, it is relatively minor.
- All of us (them and me) are 'learning' how school works. I'm hopeful that between the three of us, one of us will know whats going on!
- If there is an 'event' happening in their class, it's easier for me/my husband/grandparents/aunts and uncles to attend.
- Our girl twin has a speech disorder. While we do not rely on her twin brother to interpret, we know that should she be really upset about something in the classroom that he will be able to tell the teacher what is wrong with her.
- It's easier for me, as the parent. Let's be honest, I realise that I'm not the most important person in this scenario, but trust me, if life is easier for me, then life is easier for everyone!
- Same homework
- Same class timetable (ie PE on the same day, library on the same day)
- Same room for drop off and pick up
- Only one class of kids to get to know
- Only one class to try to remember the parents' names!
- Same day for 'special events' ie morning teas etc
- Only one class of friends to invite to the birthday party
- Back to back parent teacher interviews
- Easier for me to speak to the teacher, if required
- There is a likelihood that BOTH kids may be invited to the same birthday party
- I get to know ALL the kids and the parents in the class, whereas my friends with one boy seem to know only the boys names/parents and the same with the parents of the girls in the class.
- I don't feel torn between two classes so can spend more time in the classroom i.e. helping with reading and helping with swimming etc.
As I reflect on our twins first year of school, I can honestly say that I have had no problems this year in them being in the same class. The only niggling thing that I can think of, that may have been slightly unfair for my boy twin.
He gets into minor trouble occasionally (i.e. not listening, or talking to his friends when he should be working etc.). He is pretty good at telling me straight away, but if he doesn't do it before we get home my girl twin will tell me all about it!!! It's never anything major, but he now feels compelled to tell me about the smallest incident in case his twin beats him too it!
A few weeks ago we spoke to them both, both separately and together. They have no real preferences so will be staying together next year, in Year One.
Our approach for the future is to be flexible. We will discuss it with their teachers and with them at the end of each year and see what is best for everyone. Our school is quite small, and there is no guarantee that there will always be two classes. Obviously when they get to high school they will probably do different subjects, thus they will be in a lot of separate classes.
Naomi is the founder of Twinfo. Twinfo is a directory of services and products that truly meet multiple birth family's needs. Visit Twinfo at www.twinfo.com.au and join them on Facebook @TwinfoAustralia.