Multiplicity – Should Placing Multiples Equal Multiple Placements?

We are excited to be hosting our first guest writer for the Multiplicity column this month. It seems like Moms of Multiples have so much to talk about so we thought we would reach out to the community and see what was on the minds of other families with twins, triplets or more! We look forward to more guest posts in the future and I’m hoping I personally can pick up a few tips along the way ~ Angie

From birth, parents of multiples are faced with unique decisions concerning their twins or higher order multiples.   Will they share a room or a crib? Should they be placed on identical schedules, or is it better to just go with the flow?  One of the most difficult and perhaps life-changing decisions concerning raising multiples comes as they prepare to enter school: Will the children share a classroom, or is it best to separate them?

This is a very personal and sometimes emotional choice to make.  There are several factors to consider and in some school districts, the choice is not made by the parents, but rather the school itself.  When given the decision, parents are often plagued with thoughts of the outcome and struggle to make the best choice.  Sometimes what is easier is not necessarily the right solution.

As parents of 4-year old boy/girl twins, my husband and I face this very dilemma. The deadline for our decision is August 2011, when our twins will enter kindergarten.  Like other parents of multiples, we are weighing several factors such as: Strength of twin bond: Is it detrimental to separate or will they fare well?

I have watched my twins throughout preschool and have determined that although they do play together, it has not hindered the formation of outside friendships.  They are not exclusive, and seem to openly allow other children to join them.  If separated, I believe that after a brief adjustment period, they would go on to make new friends without much difficulty.

Each child has individual strengths and weaknesses.  I have one twin that will draw and color to his/her heart’s content, while the other wants nothing to do with a crayon and paper.   One concern I have is that if placed together, one child will be labeled “the smart one”, one as “the athletic one”, and that these labels will extend to behavior and beyond.  To me, these comparisons, which are likely to be overheard by the children, are more detrimental than the adjustment period of attending class solo.

As common with twins, my husband and I have noticed a dominant twin emerge.  We have a leader and a follower.  It was apparent well before they turned a year, and it remains true.  While it is endearing to see one twin plot and direct, and the other twin carry out the plan (the brains and the brawn), this may be an issue when placed together in class.  Since my husband happens to be a twin as well, we are fortunate to have his experiences from which to draw.

Having a total of five children, I have considered how much easier it would be to skate through elementary school with only one teacher for the pair.  With our older children, I have witnessed the mass amounts of homework, papers, trips, meetings, activities, and tests that are involved each year.  Why not minimize the stress of keeping a running tally of five classes?  The answer for us is this: It is more important to give them the chances that their siblings have by simply not being born a twin:  to be viewed as individuals and not half of anything.  Yes, it is true: being a twin is special and unique, and we celebrate that, but we want them to continue to see the positive and to not experience the negative in the school setting.

Hopefully, in their respective classes, they will not be as readily compared and contrasted and will realize they do not have to fit inside expectations that have been set for them.   With any luck, their bond will only strengthen through this daily break from each other and in addition, they will form new friendships.

Our twins will start 4K this fall, and the final decision about their future placement will be made upon their graduation of it.  At this time, however, I believe we will allow them to start public school together.   From there, the plan is to separate the children into their own classrooms the next year in order to cultivate their individuality.

As controversial as it is difficult, the decision of placing multiples together or apart in school is a personal one that should be left to the parents since they know their multiples best.   How can an outsider, even a trained school official, possibly conceive of these factors without having experienced the varying nuances that exist with multiples? Like other aspects of parenting, such a topic is likely the start of a heated debate.  It is important for each parent to decide based on their own multiples, and no two sets of circumstances are the same.  There is no “right” answer here, only what is best for each family.

D. Weekly is a busy mother of five children including a set of twins.

4 thoughts on “Multiplicity – Should Placing Multiples Equal Multiple Placements?

  1. My identical twin daughters start school in August. I am a SAHM and this will be my daughters first time in school (they did not go to preschool) and I wish that their school would let me choose. Their school will not let the parents have a choice – they must be seperated. My daughters, and my husband and I agree, would like to be in the same class. I think it would make the transition easier for my daughters. Their teachers and principal do not know my daughters yet and how can they decide without meeting them what is best. I am hoping on becoming a room mom and it would make it easier if they were in the same room.
    I think the parents should have an opinion in matter.

    If you ever need a guest post, I would love to do one. Thanks!

  2. I have twin girls (age 4) who will be starting school in Aug. 2011. We’ve battled with this decision as well. My thoughts are that it would be better for them in the long run to start school apart. I feel it will be an easier transition to start Kindergarten that way, than it would to wait until they are older. My concern, however, is that one will have an amazing teacher, and the other will end up with a dud. That does bother me. As a mom with twins, I want everything to be equal! Our school does not allow parents to choose either, which I do not think is right. Everyone is different. I feel my girls would benefit from some time apart, neither one of them is introverted in the least bit. It should be the parent’s choice.

  3. I have 4 year old B/G twins who are already in preschool. They have always been in the same class except for last summer. My son kept being mean to his sister so I was asked if they could move my daughter up to K3 and leave my son in K2 for the summer. It turned out to be a great move. Both were better at school and at home. I think the time apart during the day made them appreciate their time together at home.
    This fall they move to the elementary school for K4 and the school has two K4 classrooms. I was given a choice and I am choosing to split them up. As long as I stay positive about it, they really won’t care!

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