Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Twin Big Kid Boot Camp | Keeping Twins in the Same Classroom

It’s August and to those twin moms getting ready to send their newly minted “big kids” off to Kindergarten, good job! You’ve reached the first-day-of-school milestone and you should be proud.

I sent my boy/boy twins to Kindergarten last August and I didn’t cry a tear. Not one drop. But I did drive to four different stores collecting just the right school supplies and dusted off my iron to press two miniature plaid shirts the night before. And that was after weeks of agonizing over whether or not to keep my boys in the same class, asking a dozen other moms, teachers, grandmas, and friends what they would do.

Ultimately, my husband Aaron and I decided to keep our boys in the same class and here’s why.

Disclaimer: As we all know, there is no twin-parenting handbook. No definitive right or wrong way to do things. (Darn it!) It’s survival mode and that’s why communities like Twin Talk exist. To learn how it works for others so we can try those things ourselves. This is simply what worked for my family. I hope you find some small tidbit that works for yours.

The 3 reasons we kept our twins in the same class

My husband and I both work full-time in Austin, a 25-minute drive from our small hometown. Our boys Charlie and Weston have been in daycare since they were five months old so we’re used to school. We should have been more than ready for Kindergarten.

Charlie and Weston with big hopes and aspirations for Kindergarten.

But we weren’t.

Or rather, my mind wasn’t. Did anyone else’s anxiety kick into high gear when you had kids? Is there a Guinness world record for the amount of times a day you feel your kid’s forehead for a fever? If there is, I might have broken it during years 1 and 2. The visions of freak accidents that play through my head as I watch my kids climb higher on their play set could win short-film awards.

So naturally, I pictured my kids walking into the huge, cavernous elementary school and shaking in their boots with fear. As we neared that first day, I started talking animatedly about all the great, new things the boys would experience.

Me: "Not only does your school have a library, it has a big gym too where you'll play games. And you'll have art one day and music one day...

Weston: "Who's Big Jim? What does he do?"

Clearly I had nothing to worry about. But for us, we never questioned that we would keep the boys in the same class. Here are the three reasons why:
  1. The same teacher also means the same daily schedule, the same classwork, and the same special event and volunteer schedule.

    It’s ok to make the convenient choice, truly. We should all do it more often. With my boys in the same class, we knew they were being kept to the same schedule, the same rules, and would probably learn subjects at about the same pace. And we only had one teacher to get to know, one party to attend on party days, and one classroom to volunteer in if we ever found the time.

  2. Discipline problems stay in the family.

    I’m not proud to say it, but we earned every color of the rainbow on the color discipline chart. While it isn’t always convenient that the boys have zero sense of personal space, at least they kept any bad behavior between the two of them. Their teacher started the year by separating them at different tables and we had many conversations about keeping our hands to ourselves and such. We also had many, many good days. But 9 times out of 10, if the daily folder came home with a yellow or red (the WORST colors!) I was glad that the offending behavior had at least occurred between the boys and not between them and other kids in class.

  3. The twins maintain their close relationship with each other.

    If your twins are like mine and their best friend is each other; then you don’t want to risk losing that. As my twins have grown, I always find myself telling other mothers that watching your child be a brother or a sibling is one of the best parts of parenting. Watching my boys care for each other is some of that great twin magic.
Now that we are headed to first grade, we found ourselves wondering again if we should keep Charlie and Weston in the same class. So we asked them for advice. My husband and I each took time to talk to the boys individually and ask what they would like to do. Ultimately, they both said they’d like to stay in class with each other so they could do centers together, have the same teacher, have the same friends, and see each other everyday. We can’t argue with that!

These three reasons don’t form a rock solid argument, but for our first year in elementary school, keeping the boys in the same class worked best. I always hear that one of the major drawbacks to keeping twins in the same class is the opportunity to directly compare one twin’s strengths and weaknesses to the other’s. I’m going to be watching for that as the boys grow and I don’t think they’ll be in the same class much longer than elementary school. For us, we didn’t see too many signs this year that led us to believe the boys noticed where one was stronger in something than the other.

Kinder Graduates: The boys conquered Kindergarten with their usual spunk and style.
If there is any other advice I can give to moms with new twins starting Kindergarten, it’s this: order the pre-filled box of school supplies and prepare for the car drop-off lane. Receiving the box of all the right school supplies on Meet-the-Teacher Night is like Christmas in August. No running around to all the local craft stores to find the non-Crayola watercolors on the school list. And the car drop-off lane is serious business. Get ready to yell “Eject! Eject” as you wildly try and unlatch your kid’s seatbelts with 10 other cars bearing down on you.


Lacy Rohre is a writer for an entertainment software company in Austin, TX. Her twin boys, Charlie and Weston, were born on July 26, 2009. You can follow her on Twitter at @RohreLikeaLion.