Tag Archives: parenting

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.

Posted in parenting, school, Twins | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

My toddler sleeping tip

Do you find yourself with little ones who have been sleeping well, through the night, but have suddenly started waking because their covers are falling off? I have, and here’s my tip….

My little ones have always been good sleepers, they all slept 12 hours through the night from 10 weeks old, so when Pinky started waking in the night suddenly, it hit us hard, we were not used to that!

It seemed to me that she was getting cold, as she was unable to keep her covers on. We would have to keep returning to cover her up again. This can be very tiring.

So, you might think a onsie is the answer. However, this made her too hot when the covers were on.

My next idea was ….. a bulldog clip!

This worked perfectly. I put a bulldog clip on her duvet cover and attach it to the sheet underneath and voila! The covers stay on! And Pinky sleeps and therefore mummy and daddy sleep and everyone’s happy!

If you have this problem I recommend giving this a try, it worked brilliantly for us :)

Bull dog clip Bull dog clip attached to bed covers to hold them together

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Christmas shopping for twins

twin girls at christmasHaving twins is great. There are so many joys to be had from twins, I cannot begin to tell how wonderful it is (yes, despite having my hands full). However, one difficulty that has come to my attention, is shopping for twins.

My children are all very good at sharing, as they have always had to share everything. But, thinking about it the other way….they don’t actually have anything that is their own, so they have no concept of real individual ownership. I find this a little sad, but I really can’t think of a way round it. My older son does have things of his own as he has his own room. However, my twins are both girls and share a bedroom, so they have no space of their own and they tend to like the same toys etc.

Last weekend, I was christmas shopping and both my girls want a new doll for christmas. I found a doll suitable and they had one in blue and one in pink. Great I thought, they could own a different doll each! Then, I got thinking…..actually, I know they are both going to want the pink one and it would be unfair to knowingly give one girl a blue doll while her sister gets the pink one that they both want. Argh! It took me a long time in the shop to decide what to do. Eventually, I gave in and got 2 pink dolls.

I am so desperate to create individuality for my twins, but it feels like a loosing battle. Maybe I should just relax about it and hope that as they get older, there will be more opportunity for them to develop their individuality. There is nothing wrong with them having the same things as each other or with them sharing, it is quite healthy. However, it would be nice if they could experience having their own space and their own few items that is just theirs and no one else’s.

What do you do? Do your children share everything or do they have some of their own things, no one else can touch unless permission given?

I would love to know your thoughts. Would you buy twins the same or different?

Posted in Twins | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Memories Gro

When you have twins, your whole working/career plans often have to go out the window. Here’s a good friend of mine’s story of how she has developed her business at home, with three young children, by turning your babies first clothes into lovely little keepsake dollies……

From Working Woman to Mum(preneur) of three in 2.5yrs

Memories geo dollies

In 2010 I was expecting my first baby. When I went on maternity leave from my position at the local council, as Marketing & Tourism Manager, just before Easter I couldn’t have imagined what the next two and half years would hold. When my eldest daughter was 13 months old I discovered I was pregnant again and when I went for my first scan, 12 weeks later, a surprise was in store. “Can you see what I can see?” asked the sonographer. “Well yes,” I thought, “but I am not going to say, in case you think I am an idiot!” But it turned out I was right, we were expecting twins!

We went down the corridor to the phlebotomy lab to have my blood tests and sat in the waiting room in shock. “Well, you’re definitely not going to back to work now, are you?” said my husband. We both knew that I was actually quite pleased about this. I had always wanted to be a stay at home mum.

But of course it wasn’t that simple. The plan had been for me to childmind when baby number two arrived, and I was qualified and approved already. That would keep a little bit of money coming in, in addition to my husband’s wage. But, and it was a big but, I was only allowed by OFSTED to look after three children under five years old at anyone time and now that quota was going to be filled by our own children!

Our twin girls were born in January 2012 and for many months my time was, unsurprisingly, taken up just by looking after the girls. As time went on however, I wanted to explore ways of making a little bit of money, but also wanting to use the skills I have. I have always been very creative and being able to make things is part of what I do for much needed relaxation.

Someone suggested to me that I should think about making keepsakes from children’s clothes. Looking around there were several people making animals from babygros but no one making Dollies. So I made some girl Dollies from my girls’ first clothes. Someone asked me if I would make Boy Dollies too, so I made up a pattern for dungarees. Boy Dollies have been just as popular, in fact this summer I had a run of about 7 boy Dolly orders with no girls in between.

I love what I do and I never tire of it, or of the customer’s reaction. One lady said she was moved to tears when her little girl’s Dolly arrived. Even though I am using the same pattern each time, each Dolly is different and I enjoy working out how I am going to use the garments I have been sent.

I also make keyrings or handbag charms embroidered with the child’s name and I have recently started making memory canvases which are formed from cut out shapes from the clothes to make a beautiful collage. I have ideas for other products which I hope to test and launch soon.

I work at lunchtimes, when the twins are having their nap and my eldest is having her quiet TV time, and also in the evenings. The girls having a good routine is what really enables me to do this. I have a work diary that I fill in as orders are paid for. It helps me plan and tell customers when to expect their orders. I blank out weekend evenings, time to do things for my girls or try new products and occasional weekends off. I think it’s important I have a bit of balance, but it also gives me a little bit of leeway should I slip due to sickness (me or the children!) or whatever.

I’m not sure what the future holds for Memories Gro, whether I will continue to make Dollies once my girls are all at school. For the time being I am finding it very satisfying to be able to be creative, make a little money and be there for my children.

I would be delighted to offer followers of Twinlife Online 10% when they order two or more Dollies. Find out more at www.facebook.com/memoriesgro

Memories Gro logo

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Let Kids Be Kids 1/10/13

Let Kids Be Kids Linky

This is a linky about letting kids be kids.

In this modern world we live, it is so easy to get caught up in technology and the fast pace of life. These days, children often have to grow up too quickly and I believe frequently miss out on just being children. We need to let our children get back to basics and have genuine childhood fun.

This week we have been busy trying to get into some autumn crafts and activities. We’ve been out collecting leaves and other autumn finds as well as doing some gardening with little ones helping cut back the lavender bush. It’s all good basic fun.

There were lots of great posts linked up again last week, thank you to everyone who joined in, I hope you join us again this week. My three favourites from last week were:

A great dinosaur sensory box via Nommonster, looks like lots of fun whilst experiencing nature for little ones.

There was a great fish race over at Time to craft, I have got to try this.

Or how about some tree climbing at Family friendly west yorkshire great example of basic childhood fun.

There’s not may rules, just link up your posts, old or new, about genuine childhood fun (of any age). It may be fun outdoors, jumping in puddles, nature hunts, riding bikes or making mud pies. Or it may be fun indoors with arts and crafts, making dens, cooking, messy play or reading. Or how about visiting a farm or fun at a fete. Or a discussion about kids growing up too fast, etc.

Whatever basic fun you have been having or discussing, link up and share your ideas, visit others to get inspiration, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

This linky will open every Tuesday for 6 days, so there’s plenty of time to add your posts.

Please spread the word and grab my badge from my sidebar if possible.

If you tweet me your link (karenattwinlife), I will happily retweet.

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Posted in Let Kids Be Kids | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Childhood is precious

childhood is preciousChildhood is precious. It is over in a flash. It should be a time for running around, friendships, making a mess (though, that one goes against the grain a bit), dressing up, pretending, laughter, giggles, learning, exploring, being creative and above all having fun.

It is vital we cherish this time as parents and allow our children to experience these things. There is plenty of time for them to grow up and learn about the real world, with all its stresses, technology and pressure.

We live in such a fast paced society with new technology round every corner and pressure to keep up with all the latest trends. Whatever happened to ‘just living life’ and enjoying it?

This is especially true for children. Children do most of their learning through play and exploring things for themselves. If we remove most of this independent play time, by filling their lives with tv, computer games and other technology, how will they learn?

Additionally, when they have grown up, will they look back at their childhood with fond memories and think, oh yes, I had a wonderful time playing that computer game or watching that tv programme. Personally, I don’t believe technology produces great childhood memories. When I think back to my childhood, I remember playing outside with friends, making mud pies, climbing, making dens, exploring, doing crafts and just having basic fun. This is how I want my children to remember their childhood.

Don’t get me wrong, tv and computers have their place and can be a great learning tool too. But I do believe, everything in moderation and sometimes we need reminding about the basics.

This is the reason I set up my linky, LetKidsBeKids. I believe so strongly, we need to remember to get back to basics with our children, let them get muddy, jump in puddles, make dens, climb trees and explore. This is great fun, children learn a lot and if we as parents join in too, it can be such fantastic family time and produce some great memories.

Childhood doesn’t last long, lets let our children enjoy it while they can.

Let Kids Be Kids


Posted in parenting | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Inspiring my children

picture of a band playing on a band standBeing a parent has got to be one of the toughest jobs in the world. You have someone’s life in your hands and it is your responsibility to bring that child up the way you believe.

One of the most important things I believe I can do as a parent for my children, is to be an inspiration, a good role model. Children often replicate what they see, so, if I try to be the best person I can, I am hoping my children will do the same.

Last weekend was a great example of this. I play the tenor horn in Cold Ash Brass. On Sunday (yes, one of the hottest days of the year so far!), I played a concert in our local park, on the bandstand.

picture of playing a tenor hornIt was a great afternoon, despite being incredibly hot, dressed all in black, trousers and long-sleeved shirt and despite missing the legendary Wimbledon tennis. The children came to watch and listen to me play, whilst they scooted around on their scooters and kicked a ball about. They had loads of fun playing and watching. They even got to have an ice cream in the interval to cool down too.

To my amazement, this appears to have really inspired my children. As soon as they got home from the concert, they went straight to their musical drawer and pulled out every instrument going. The piano, recorders, percussion etc, everything! They also got the written music out and tried to read it. Then said to me “where are the words?”. I had never thought of that before…. no words, just dots on a page. I tried to explain a little to them.children giving a music concert (pretend)

They then proceeded to give us a concert, which was great to see, but as you can imagine, not great on the ears! BB now says he wants to learn music. I have said I will teach him the recorder if that is what he wants to do. I think he is still a little too young to learn a proper instrument yet, but I have promised him, if he still wants to when he is a bit older, he can. But for now I am more than happy to teach recorder to start him off, though my ears may not be thinking that after a while! (What have I let myself in for?)picture of children pretending to play music

I want to inspire my children to try new things and encourage them to pursue their interests. If that interest is music, that’s great, if they choose something else, that’s great too.

Posted in fun, parenting | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

Twin individuality

Picture of identical twin girl toddlers hugging each otherTwins are individuals, not clones.

From the moment twins are born, twins are often clumped together and spoken about as one person. They are compared to each other with terms like ”this one” and “that one” being used. This, I have discovered from personal experience, so I wanted to write this post to promote awareness of the individuality of twins.

There is no getting around the fact, that twins are amazing. It is so wonderful to be able to watch two of your children grow, develop and reach milestones together, side by side. Watching twins interact, play and learn shoulder to shoulder is absolutely magical!

However, I believe it is important to remember, twins are individuals too. Twins start life together, some from the same egg, some from two completely separate eggs, they grow side by side in the womb. They share a birthday (although, my twins don’t even share their birthday).

Identical twins may have very similar looks eg, same sex, same eye and hair colour, etc, but they also have many differing features. My twins have different face shapes, different birth marks, different moles, as well as different medical conditions (which I find amazing). Whether they are identical or not, the same sex or not, they were born together, but need to live individually.

All children need to be given the chance to develop their own personalities, likes, dislikes and interests. Twins are no different. They are not a duplicate copy of each other, they have completely different personalities.

I believe it is essential that we assist twins in exploring their individuality and allow them to discover their own personality, beliefs and identity. Here is a list of ways to help twins become individuals:

Suggestions for ways to promote individuality in twins

  1. Try not to use phrases like “this one” and “that one”
  2. Refer to each child by name
  3. Try not to call them ‘the twins’
  4. Talk to each child separately
  5. Try to give individual attention whenever possible
  6. Read to each child separately
  7. Try to allow each child to have their own clothes
  8. Each child should have some of their own toys
  9. Take photos of each child individually too
  10. Try to take each child out individually if possible (if only to the shop?)

Picture of twin girls

That was a list of ways to help promote individuality in twins. However, I am very aware of how difficult it can be sometimes to follow all 10 points. Personally, I need to improve and work on some of these. It is extremely rare that my children, especially ‘the twins’, get taken out individually. I wish I could do it more, but it is very difficult when you have 3 or more children and only two parents. I also must confess, I read to them together, rather than separately. None of us are perfect, but I try at least to think of them as two individual children with different personalities and needs.

Twins are 2 separate children, with 2 different personalities that should not be compared to each other. Twins are not a freak show (even when having a double tantrum in the supermarket, at double the volume)! They are 2 ordinary children living their lives, developing and learning about themselves and their world.








Posted in parenting, Twins | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Setting an active example

picture of mummy runningIt is all too easy these days to get sucked into quite a sedentary lifestyle. With all the modern gadgets, tv, computer, internet, games consoles etc. we spend a lot of our time sat down.

When my twins were babies, I was very active, running up and down stairs, picking up babies etc. Now they are 3, things have physically got a lot easier. I don’t spend my whole day lifting. This is great, but it does now mean, I need to start thinking about exercise.

I believe it is important to try to be a good role model to my children (though, not always succeeding, I admit). After all, how can we expect our children to do something if they don’t see us doing it. I want my children to grow up thinking it is good to be active, get exercise and eat relatively healthily. Twinlife daddy and I have recently started running. I have never done any running before in my life, so it has come as quite a shock! I have been sooo unfit! When I first went out, I couldn’t even get to the bottom of the road without stopping to walk!picture of daddy running a race

Last weekend, I ran my first ever race (well, slowly jogged, then nearly collapsing half dying across the finish line is probably a better description). Twinlife daddy ran 10km and did brilliantly, while I ran the 2km race (yes, I know it is not far, but we all have to start somewhere!). All that matters to me, is that I DID IT! And I did it without walking, in my best time, 13mins 19s. I am very pleased.

The race was at Whipsnade zoo, so it was great running past all the giraffes and flamingos etc. It also meant that the children got a day out at the zoo too. They watched us and a group of friends running our races, then went round  the zoo.

They loved sepicture of a giraffeeing all the different animals. Their favourite were the giraffes (and mine too). Miss pink was watching them for ages, giving me a full description, “they have nobly knees, patches, a hairy back, spiky hair, big nails and they eat funny”. That was a real magical moment. I could have listened to her descriptions all day! I love listening to the strange, literal way children think. We saw lions, tigers, sea lions, flamingos, meerkats, lemurs, just to name a few.

It was great combining a race, and showing the children it is good be active, with a lovely day out at the zoo. We all had a fantastic day. Daddy Twinlife and I achieved something and we are both now looking for another race to do later in the year. I will probably try a 5km race next time (it is always good to have a goal to work towards).




Posted in behaviour, days out, fun, parenting | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Magical bedtimes

picture of mother reading bedtime storyChildren love stories. My children are no different, they love reading stories at anytime, but especially at bedtime.

From the moment my son could crawl, he would crawl across the room to bring us book after book to read! Sadly his keenness for books has subsided a little, but he does still love them.

I think most parents probably read to their children at bedtime. I just wanted to share my thoughts on our bedtime stories as they really are such magical moments.

I love reading to my children at bedtime. It is a time for quiet  (breathe a sigh of relief!). It is a time when they will actually keep still and listen (mostly). They choose a story and snuggle into bed. With my son, we lay on the bed with him and read stories. He likes so many types of stories, it is difficult to give a favourite. He likes anything from Bob the builder, Thomas the tank engine and mr men to the good old-fashioned fairy stories of Pinocchio etc or pirate stories. We have even read through a whole book of poems (without any pictures in)!

I think my son loves this time partly for the stories, but also for the 1 to 1 time he gets. After the story he often likes to talk a bit about things and ask us questions about when we were children and at school etc. It is so lovely to get that time to chat quietly together. It is a time I don’t want to forget.

With my girls, being twins they share a room. They have toddler beds just far enough apart for me to squeeze onto the floor between them. I love sitting in between them reading a story. They both lean across and put their head on either side of my shoulder. It is a truly wonderful heart melting twin moment. I do often feel guilty that they don’t get the one to one story time like my son does, but they don’t seem to mind. The girls like books such as the hungry caterpillar, room on a broom, the Alfie stories or any cute teddy bear story is usually a winner.

Very occasionally the children have all got into BB’s bed for a story together (that is really cute too). BB reads the girls his story book from school and then we read a story to them all. It is another example of these wonderful magical moments.

If a bedtime story is not part of your routine, I would seriously encourage you to try it, as a bedtime story can produce such lovely moments for both you and the children.

I hope this has inspired you to get the books out and read. Writing this has inspired me to start reading to the children in the daytime more.

These are moments I hope I will always remember.

I am linking this post up with Magic Moments at The Oliver’s Madhouse, pop over and have a look at some other magical moments.

Posted in parenting, Sleep, toddlers, Twin moments | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments