Should twins stay together at school or be split?

Should twins stay together at school or be split?For a long time, the question of ‘should twins be in the same class at school or should they be split?’ has never worried me. I always thought my twins should be in separate classes, in order to allow them to develop their own individuality, personality and friendships. However, now my twins are due to start school in September, I am suddenly (very unexpectedly) feeling very unsure and worried.

On Monday, I had a to go to a meeting at school for all the new September starters. Whilst walking there, everything suddenly felt very real and I started questioning myself, ‘is it actually best to split twins up?’. I had never questioned it before, so it came as quite a shock.

The school has no preference either way, so I guess it’s down to me to decide. I came back from school feeling very confused. I asked twitter and got a mixed response, though interestingly, several people with twins said ‘don’t split them’. I then read TAMBAs guide to twins at school. I found this very interesting and was surprised by how much I then felt in favour of twins remaining together at school.

When I read this:

“Recent research conducted by Kings College London (a national study of 2,232 twin children) found that twins separated at the start of primary school at age 5 had more emotional problems on average (symptoms of shyness, withdrawal, depression and anxiety) than non-separated twins.” (TAMBA)

I was really shocked. It had never occurred to me that it could cause real damage to split them up! I am now starting to think we should keep them together.

However, I am struggling with the thought of keeping them together as I have always brought them up to be two individuals, they very rarely dress the same and I try to encourage them to be independent. Therefore, to put them in the same class together, to me would not be encouraging individuality so much. On the other hand, I do want them to settle in well at school quickly and I don’t want them to be traumatised by being separated.

It is such a difficult decision. I think there is no set rule for twins, it is very individual depending on each twins personality etc. There are so many pros and cons on either side. At the moment I feel I am not going to get it right whichever way I go. I know that’s silly, I’m sure they will be fine either together or split, but as a parent, being responsible for my children’s best welfare, I am desperate to make the right decision.

I would love to know your opinion and experiences, please leave me a comment.

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18 Responses to Should twins stay together at school or be split?

  1. I don’t have twins, but all twins I’ve known through childhood and beyond have all gone through school together until at least GCSE kind of age. Some were girl/boy, some were same sex, some identical.

    For our village school there’s no choice as the schools only have one class anyway, with some year groups combined. If I had them, unless they hated each other (highly unlikely), I’d leave them together, and let them find their own way – they’ll still have the choice to be friends with the same people or different.

  2. I’m not a mum of twins but I would say that proverbial umbilical cord needs to stretched and broken at some point. Perhaps the bond between twins goes deeper than that of the mum relationship. They will make friends soon enough is my opinion and therefore settle. Either way I’m sure you will make the best decision if you give your gut, which is so often right.

  3. gcatuk says:

    Hi, my twins just turned 4 and the question of when to separate them has always been in my mind. I read about it early on when they were born and found that apparently the only ‘study” about it dated back to 1945 and it encourages separating them. Needless to say thestudy is outdated at best. The topic has only recently been reopened and it is now mmore of a consensus that separating them at an early age is not necessarily the best for them.

    I definitely want my girls to grow up asindividuals and to be autonomous. But I don’t support the idea of splitting them that early on. For reasons I will not go into now, my girls have been together since they were born. There have been very few opportunities to have them do things separately. Yet, they have their own personalities and preferences. I dressed them very much alike up until recently and yet as they are getting older they make their own choices and are not always the same. I go along with this and let them dress alike or not as they choose.

    We moved to Spain 1.5 years ago. I found it shocking that here you don’t have a choice, they are split at 3 as they enter school. I found this immensely cruel. I heard the stories from parents about how their twins would look for each at recess and cuddle and stay together the little time they had. From my point of view, at that early age they can’t rationalize what’s happening, all they’ll know is they miss their sibling. Why put them through that? Like any major transition, in my view, it should be handled as gently as possible, giving them time to adjust one step at a time. For that reason alone,I think it’s best to keep them together until they are old enough that they can understand what’s happening. At that point, it may still be traumatic but at least you can teach them to cope and help them learn to deal with it. In the mean time, you can offer extra curricular activities that they can do separately to ensure they have their alone time.

  4. sarahmo3w says:

    I’m not a twin parent, so I’m afraid I can’t help! All I know is that twins at my kids’ school are always in the same class. I assume they get offered the option of splitting them at the start of school, but they always remain together. There are two sets in my son’s class – identical boys and boy/ girl twins. The identical boys were always together until about year 4, but now they have become much more individual. The boy/ girl twins have always had separate friends and rarely do things together.

  5. My husband has a twin and he said that the thing that he hates the most are those dresses that looks the same =P

    He said it is a struggle to be an individual if you are a twin and those matching clothes doesnt help.. at all.

    I dont know about school but I think he likes it that they went to the same school as he’s got a team mate right up.

    #pocolo

  6. One of my friends has triplets that started school last year. There all in separate classes. They still see each other at break times and they have their own little friends in their class and it’s worked really well for them all xx #pocolo

  7. Amy Squires says:

    My twin boys start school in September and as much as they are individuals and I couldn’t separate them. They are so close that I think they would be become withdrawn and shy. I don’t worry about them being together though as already at nursery they have different friends and I’m told all the time they choose to spend time apart.

    I feel maybe at secondary school they won’t mind to be in different classes but I feel at this age starting school is such a big deal anyway that I don’t want to add by changing something they have been used to for the whole of their life.

    I hope you are able to come to a decision. xxx

  8. @katgrant30 says:

    I’m sure however you decide your twins will be just fine! If the class is large enough they may find themselves making slightly different groups of friends anyway? Good luck!
    #PoCoLo

  9. krissottoh says:

    This is a question close to my heart as I have fraternal twins (boy & girl). In London they were in the same class for nursery & kindergarten which worked brilliantly. When we moved to the US we decided to put them in different classes these past 2 years. Looking back I think it might have been better for them to be in the same class. Now we’re planning to move back to UK in summer and they’ll be in same class in village school. I’m happy that they’ll be in same class as I think it will give them confidence having each other when they’re starting new school. As they’re a boy and a girl at school they have different friends but I think they just feel a bit more secure when they have each other to turn to for support. One of my concerns was that a teacher might favour one over the other. Also as it turns out they’re each brilliant in different subjects which means I don’t have to worry that they’ll be overcompetitive.
    But I think it’s only parents of twins who can make this decision as we know our children best.

  10. TwinsplusTwo says:

    Good post. As we chatted about I think keeping them together for Key Stage 1 is usually the best move, then separation after if it’s appropriate. I still regret splitting mine for KS1 but I am pretty sure I would still have split them into parallel classes after. Obviously some schools don’t even have parallel classes in a year group which makes it harder to split!
    #PoCoLo

  11. Jaime Oliver says:

    awww honey, having been a twin myself i think i can offer my experience. My mum kept us together in primary school .. which we loved . We were then kept together in secondary school …. this we hated!

    I am sure you will find what is best for the girls x

    thanks for linking up with #PoCoLo x

  12. Grace says:

    As a twin myself, we much preferred being in separate classes. It gave us the space to be ourselves. It’s probably a very individual thing though.

  13. Mel says:

    Not an easy decision to make I guess. On the one hand, you do not want to traumatise your girls by separating them, but on the other hand, you want them to bond with other children and develop their own personalities… Good luck for the decision making. Mel #PoCoLo

  14. 20TinyToes says:

    I am an identical twin who has fraternal twin daughters starting school this September. I was in the same class as my sister until we were 12 and then again at 16 when we did A levels (as we chose the same subjects and there was only one class for each subject). We did have a lot of the same friends and people did talk to us as if we were the same person (assuming we would make the same choices and have the same ideas, etc) but it was always a comfort to have my best friend (i.e. my twin sister) with me. Of course we didn’t like being called “twinny” as we obviously saw ourselves as individuals, even if others didn’t.
    When we were separated our separate friends would accept the other twin as another friend within a very short space of time. Not many of my friends stayed on for A level, so I sort of inherited some of my sisters. She never said she minded about that. It was more of a problem if there was a boy we were both interested in.
    This is one of those decisions that it is impossible to know whether you have chosen the best option, as you will never be able to turn back the clock and try the other one. I have personally chosen to have my fraternal twins in the same class in September. They do not even look like sisters, so I don’t think their teachers or school mates will think of them as the same person. I am comforted by the thought that they will be able to share their experiences with each other and always have a friend to turn to.
    I am sure that whatever you chose will work out well. I would think that the most important thing is not to show them that you are anxious about them starting school and the decisions you have made, as they are more likely to pick up on that.

  15. Amanda says:

    My twin boys started school in August this year and I, like you try my best that they are treated as individuals and have done so since they were tiny babies. I felt that as I was not a twin I couldnt understand how they would feel if after spending 4 1/2 years together 24/7, and about to take one of the biggest steps in their lives suddenly not having their comfort brother with them!? I asked therefore that they were placed in the same class. They were, but do not sit together(which I worried about but they don’t mind about). I also read a quote from someone saying that if your not a twin how can you understand the unit and how would you feel if someone suddenly took one of your arms away…how would you feel??! A bit harsh but def helped me believe that in the early stages the importance of them being together! You’re right that they have to be independent and individual… But in a twin way!

  16. FranDeFranco says:

    My twins don’t start until September 2016 (they’ll be the very oldest in their year). I have always thought I’d want them in separate classes for the very reasons you mentioned. Although if in separate classes, I shudder to think how many parties they’d be going to (it’s bad enough with my eldest!). However, that has really thrown me. As Amanda says, if you’re not a twin how can you appreciate what it feels like to be one. I have to say I hadn’t really thought about that until now. #Multiplemadness

  17. Cristina says:

    I have identical twin girls, 3 yo and they’ll start the kindergarten in September 2015.
    It never crossed my mind that I should separate them, they have each other and they love to play together. They have their own personality, their own preferences in terms of food, clothes, toys, books, very different from each other, they are independent and individual, but they are more confident when together.
    In my opinion it would be recommended to let them choose when they feel they are ready to split. I do believe that until secondary school they’ll be able to choose their own path and they’ll have their own friends. But they’ll always be best friends.
    It’s just my opinion, based on my experience as a twins mother.
    And a hope all mothers know what’s best for their children.

  18. How interesting. I don’t have twins so can’t help but our school split them. I had thought that the reasoning behind it was that they would learn to their own friends etc rather than rely on each other. I know that some schools keep friendship groups together so in turn could keep twins together x

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