Q: Our twin daughters have been in the same classroom since preschool. We’re moving to a different school district next month. My husband thinks we should request to enroll the girls in separate classrooms, but I feel like we should allow them to stay in the same room because of all the changes that come from moving. What do you recommend?
A: It’s great that you’re looking ahead and anticipating how your daughters will be affected. While moving can provide a fresh start, the fact that your girls have been in the same classroom since preschool should be taken into consideration as you and your husband decide what to do. Unfortunately, I can’t provide you with the answer you seek. As with so many other child-related questions, the answer depends on your daughters’ personalities, temperaments, abilities, and sense of security. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer when considering whether or not to split up twins.
There are ways to make the decision a little easier, though. I suggest you make a list of pros and cons to help you and your husband decide what’s best for your girls. Twins naturally share a tight bond, so keeping them together might help them feel less fearful or stressed about changing schools. Because they are used to being together, separation may create a distraction that gets in the way of learning. If your daughters are identical twins, having them in the same classroom may be beneficial. Teachers and other classmates will see them regularly and have the opportunity to differentiate between them. And let’s not overlook the fact that having them both in the same classroom would be more convenient for you. Parent teacher conferences will be easier, classroom expectations and assignments will be the same, and tests will always be scheduled on the same day.
There are, however, good reasons to place the girls in separate classrooms. Twins in different classrooms have the benefit of being treated as individuals rather than parts of a matching set. This can help your girls establish their own identities and make friends on their own. If one girl tends to “mother” or “control” her sister, it may be time to let them try it on their own. Although we don’t like to admit it, teachers sometimes compare siblings. When siblings are in the same classroom, it’s even more difficult to avoid. That can be detrimental if one sister isn’t on the same level with her twin. You also need to take a hard look at their behavior. If the girls’ togetherness is impeding their education (e.g., they’re distracting each other or causing tandem behavioral issues), separating them would be beneficial.
Don’t forget to ask your girls what they want. They may feel like they need each other for moral support, or they may feel like they are ready to separate into different classes. Take time to tour the new school. Your girls may find they connect to different teachers or classrooms, which will make your decision easier. Whatever you decide, listen to your daughters. Their insight may surprise you.