Twins in Class: Should They Be Together or Apart? - Step To Health
 

Twins in Class: Should They Be Together or Apart?

Whether to keep twins together or apart in school is a debate that involves issues of identity and personality. Fortunately, many studies can help us determine the best decision.
Twins in Class: Should They Be Together or Apart?

Last update: 26 November, 2021

Parents and teachers often wonder whether twins should be in class together or separate when it’s time for school. The question comes up a lot, even more so nowadays, when multiple births are more common than decades ago.

Identical or fraternal twins have been together forever and often feel or perceive themselves as a unit. This is known as twin identityAs with many difficult decisions, common sense must prevail when it comes to schooling. Parents know their children best and know what would be the best option for their children.

Let’s look at why some schools mandate separation in this article and address the problem in the light of science.

Why do some schools advocate separating twins in class

For parents, having twins attend the same school is a cost-effective formula. That said, many twins must necessarily be together if there’s only one classroom per grade and age. There’s often no alternative or a choice.

In general, however, traditional schools consider it advisable for twins to be separated because this foments identity construction. This suggests that the personality is constructed autonomously and individually, which contrasts with the unity that twins often exhibit and demonstrate.

Separation in schools comes from the concern that one child may become too dependent on the other to affect their development. In some schools, they don’t even suggest this option, but rather impose separation.

To avoid possible conflict situations, many schools place twins in separate classrooms. However, this is a decision that is increasingly at odds with scientific evidence. Many studies actually indicate developmental benefits if twins remain together, so schools have added flexible policies that allow parents to decide.

Gemelos en una ecografía.
Twins have many characteristics in common that often lead them to develop a similar sense of identity. 

What does science say?

Scientific studies confirm that separation could bring problems. Twins defend, support, and collaborate by being together, a condition that they feel is a very special and intense way. In fact, it is said to be the closest relationship that can exist between two people.

The complexity arises because every child grows up separate from the unity they once had with their mother. But twins must achieve this not only concerning their mother, but also in their relationship with their sibling. Twins who grow up together achieve a distinct identity because each focuses on being different.

In the early years, however, it’s not desirable for them to be separated. The data confirms this assertion. Early separation brings problems of internalization. This is more pronounced in the case of twins than in the case of fraternal or dizygotic children.

Teachers, in particular, must be aware of this in their principals. In fact, teachers and parents should agree and propose the terms of keeping twins in class together.

On the other hand, assuming identity-differentiation depends on whether we’re talking about identical or fraternal twins. The latter will have different behaviors. Sometimes, the inclination to protect a twin’s sibling is reflected in the fact that a girl twin may play the role of mother by taking care of her brother.

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Buying double is not the best option in the long wrong

Parents of twins tend to dress and buy double items for their children. It’s practical and has economic and aesthetic advantages, as the children being mistaken for identical is often amusing and arouses interest and curiosity. However, this contributes to preventing the affirmation of uniqueness and identity.

Therefore, it’s important that parents, rather than the children, are called upon to make an effort to help their children differentiate themselves. In fact, some parents often speak to both of them as if they were the same. They may even read them the same bedtime story and give them the same gifts so that they don’t fight.

Being aware of this harmful attitude will help overcome the inclination to double everything and instead offer children a variety of forms and stimuli that will help them grow. It’s best if they learn to choose separately and without pressure to conform.

If they dress alike, when they look at their sibling, the twin will continually see themselves. It will take longer for them to recognize themselves as individuals. Older twins in particular may be upset about this.

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Socializing before school

From any point of view, sudden changes and unexpected breaks are unfavorable. For the twins to cope with the novelty of school, it’s a good idea for them to participate in free and playful educational and socialization dynamics beforehand.

The children have been close and alone interacting in their daily lives in the intense family life. Their previous socialization is a good preview of what they’ll find at school. Other children and diversity outside the home broaden their horizons of recognition.

It’s a good idea to have them participate in tutor-led experiences for a couple of hours, where they can be alone, without their twin, and spend time with a group. Children their age, toys, and other attractions may take their minds off their twin for a while.

These exercises will let children know that they’re different – not only from each other but also from the people they interact with. Then, school won’t be so strange to them, and they’ll have practice communicating and making friends.

Grupos de niños socializando.
Socialization other than that done in a school environment itself helps twins to recognize their different identities.

When should twins be separated in class?

We’ve already said that there shouldn’t be a fixed and strict position around twins being together or apart in class. However, if being together hinders the social development of one, then they should be separated.

Also, it’s best to make the change if one of the twins is visibly dominant over the other or if they develop language faster. If competition or negative feedback makes them irritable and aggressive, it’s not a good sign.

That’s why twins up to the age of five need to have a level of socialization that allows them to develop friendships. Getting out of the house and hanging out in groups will help them if any separation is necessary.

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