I never expected to be a mother to twins. Twin boys even less so. Yes, they run in my family. But after two singleton pregnancies, it had fallen off of my radar.
Twins seemed to amplify everything – pregnancy became high risk, followed by a scary hospital stay and preterm delivery. Caring for premature twins – the first year we were followed so closely by a medical team, everything was much more medicalized and full of questions and protocol. It wasn’t until their 4th birthday, when we were officially discharged, that we started to feel like we “got through it”, the hardest part was over.
Except that it isn’t really over. Old challenges appear to be continually replaced by new ones. And one of those new ones came in the form of Kindergarten Registration.
Like most parents, I had done my research. I spent time researching area-schools, even reaching out and asking questions. At the end of it all, they had one question for me – “same class or different classes?” that left me thinking.
If you happen to be trying to make a similar decision, here are 4 things that dictated our decision-making…
1. Independent or Dependent?
That unique connection shared by twins can create an extra level of support in the classroom enviable by most. But, if this sibling support prevents our kids from being able to navigate their day at school independently or prevents our kids from establishing peer relationships with children other than their sibling, we may want to rethink it.
2. Sibling Rivalry
In this age of parenting we are slowly reintroducing the idea of “friendly competition”. We know that our kids have their own unique set of strengths – but it’s oh so easy to keep comparing our twins. Even more, how do we navigate this as they begin to notice disparities between themselves? Do they raise each other up or fight for the top? If one twin seems to always be struggling to keep up with the other, it may be worth looking into separating them.
3. For Your Convenience
Think about your family dynamic for a second. It’s not hard to find families with two working parents, siblings to think about, meals to plan and extracurriculars to attend. Making ourselves available to have the relationship with our kids school that we want to have – sometimes the convenience of having one teacher, with one newsletter and one set of field trip dates to keep track of, is enough of a win to keep your twins together.
4. Extraneous Circumstances
Sometimes it’s not about what is happening inside the classroom at all. If they are going through any kind of transition – like moving to a new home, navigating divorce, experiencing grief/loss – then it may be worth thinking about whether or not having them undergo the stress of being separated as a necessary one.
We’ve ultimately decided to keep our twins together for their kindergarten year. But this decision, but that’s just what will work best for our family this year. We’ve transitioned to a new city, and as our boys attended the same preschool class, it was clear that their interests couldn’t be more different, resulting in different peer groups for the two.
Still not sure? The way our kids act at home isn’t necessarily how they are going to act at school. Do they attend daycare or preschool? Speak to someone who has supervised them in an unparented capacity, they will have some good insights into how they will behave in a classroom setting.
Keep an open mind and speak up, having open and ongoing communication with your school and kindergarten classroom teacher will ultimately be the best approach. Know that your decision doesn’t have to be the ultimate one. Decisions CAN change and so will your kids – what works this year may not work for next year.
A pro/con list will always be my favourite pathway towards a decision. Sit down with your thoughts and maybe take a deep breath or two, as the next challenge waits for us just around the corner.
Lindsay Fricker is a mom of four – two plus twins. Kindergarten teacher by day, Lindsay enjoys helping others find ways to navigate the ugly parts of parenting, while keeping their sanity and positively supporting their children. You can read more from Lindsay here or follow her on Instagram @serendipity.six.