Do you keep them together or not? That is the question. A big decision you have once your twins enter school is whether to keep them together or separate. Also, when and how to do it. There are, of course, pros and cons to this decision, like all the others we face as parents of twins.
We kept our boys together kindergarten through second grade. I love that that they had each other to lean on and didn’t have to “go it alone” in those early years.
Having one main teacher and classroom of kids to get to know was much less daunting. Keeping your volunteering in one class was also a wonderful benefit. The other children in the class grew to know the boys as twins (mine look nothing alike) so in the long run there can be less confusion on who gets play date and birthday invites. You learn if they work well together in class or not, as well as their academic/social needs, strengths and differences in a classroom setting.
Separating twins can be more challenging with some sets of twins and easier with others. Starting it early, they might not know the difference or that there was a choice to be together. If your twins are older, I do recommend you talk to them before you separate them. Both individually and together. This way you can see how they feel about it and how stressful it may be for them. In a lot of cases, like ours, one was ready while the other was more hesitant. Now there are 2 teachers and groups of kids to get to know. Difference in homework, strictness and expectations vary between teachers. This can cause angst between the twins but also teach them a good lesson. Things won’t always be equal or fair, so figuring out how to deal with this is a great life skill. I am glad we waited till they were a bit older to split them for this reason. They can now understand that concept better. Telling the story of their school day around the dinner table was the main reason why we finally separated our twins. They each had their own unique perspective of the day’s events and they were not always the same, so the fighting would start between them. Now being in different classes, they can each tell their story with no fear of the other one interjecting.
Identical twins may benefit being apart so that they are not as easily confused with one another, although might be the hardest on them. Different sex twins occasionally find themselves in the situation where the girl twin takes the role of caregiver to the boy or the boy may be protective of the girl. This may play into your decision.Your twins may have very different interests or needs in which a choice is clearer. If you have older children, you may know the teachers well and want both twins to have that same great teacher or avoid a teacher that didn’t serve your older child well. Some think “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. So, if they do well together in class there may not be a need to split them up. Your twins’ teacher(s) might have some good insight into keeping them together or not for the next school year. After all they are the ones with them in the classroom and often kids can behave differently in a classroom setting then in the home.
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Check your specific school’s policy around twins, most of them usually will go with what you want, although there seems to always be an underlying desire to split them. And there are some schools that still have this as a policy and legislation around this topic in some states. So, what’s the right choice?Well, there is no right choice! Twins are unique and their bond is something very special that we need to help foster. We also need to recognize their desire to be an individual and viewed as one. Whether you decide to keep them together or separate them in school, know that you can always make a change back if needed. I don’t believe this is a one-size-fits-all problem. I think there’s a lot to take into consideration, most importantly your specific twins and their relationship with each other. You more than anyone knows if they would be better together or separated in class. Most importantly have fun; school aged kids are a blast so enjoy the ride!
About the author
Cristy Hamilton is TLC’s Denver Associate and mother of fraternal twin boys named Liam and Tyler. She grew up in Colorado most of her life. Cristy enjoys working part time in a fulfilling career as a family nurse practitioner in a clinic setting. She received both her bachelors and masters degrees in nursing from the University of Colorado and holds a board certification by the AANP. Cristy has always had a calling to help people. After joining her local twins club and surviving the first year of twins, she started working with the new twin moms and loves helping them find their way through this amazing experience. You can reach Cristy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our Denver services.