separating your twins in school

Whether to Separate Your Twins in School – Pandemic Edition

Should your twins be in the same class in school? The answer depends on whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

What I’ve Said in the Past

In this post, I’ve compared separating my kids at school and keeping them together in the same bunk at camp. In the debate as to whether to separate your twins at school, I’ve always leaned toward separation. My inclination towards separation is based on my twins’ experience of co-dependency and delayed verbal development when they were in the same class. I also advocate separation after having interviewed dozens of adult twins and triplets. All but one interviewee stated that separation in school was the best thing that could have happened in their own development. Separation helped them grow both as students and peers.

Separating your twins fosters independence, reduces competition, and helps each twin develop her own sense of identity.  There are downsides to separation, of course. The biggest one is about discomfort, the discomfort of navigating tricky situations alone. Indeed, it can be comforting to have your sibling with you, especially in first-time experiences – new school, new classroom, new teacher. So, whether to separate can be complicated. In my book Twinsight, I have a whole chapter dedicated to school separation, including anecdotes and statistics about separating twins in school. I urge you to read this if you haven’t quite figured out whether to separate your twins.

I have yet to come across a family for whom the risks and downsides of separation outweighed the benefits of separation.

So, my bottom line piece of advice is to separate them.

What I’m Saying NOW

But guess what? I’ve changed my tune. I’ve done a complete 180. I’m now shouting from the rooftops, “Keep them togetherrrrrr!” Now we are in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools are scrambling to figure out various scenarios for instruction: (1) five days per week online-instruction; (2) hybrid scenario where half the kids come to the school building on Monday and Tuesday; the other half comes to the building on Thursday and Friday (Wednesday is the day the school will be deeply sanitized); and (3) five days per week in-person instruction.

In the first two scenarios, having your kids in separate classes will create extensive hardship for parents. And we’re all spread thin this year…

*Online, Five Days a Week

If you go all-online, you will have to ensure that you are there to help each child on different days/times for their distinct classes. But maybe you have a job outside of being your kids’ educator and wrangler. And maybe your boss expects you to actually show up to meetings.

Going all-online also means that you have to find a quiet room in which each child can attend her classes without distraction. This is not easy to do in many houses.

*The Hybrid

In the hybrid scenario, with kids in separate classes, you’d have one kid in school and one kid at home on different days. This is great for their own individual growth. If we weren’t five months into quarantine and self-isolation, I’d celebrate this option. But at this point, my kids, husband, and I have spent too much time together in our house. With this hybrid option, you’d never have the house to yourself. You’d never get a break. No – unacceptable! Keep the kids together and twindependence be damned.

*In-Person Learning, Five Days a Week (aka, the “good ol’ days”)

In the all in-person instruction option, having your kids separated is ideal. It’s just like the pre-Covid world.

At the time of this writing, though, no school in my state is offering this third option of five days per week in-person instruction. So in all likelihood, you are being faced with the first two options. And you should keep your kids together for your own sake. We are in survival mode and you get to be selfish here.

Bottom Line

Here’s the rule to follow: separate your kids in school. Unless there’s a pandemic and the world feels like it’s crumbling around you. In that case, keep your kids together. Personal sanity is at a premium right now – don’t deny yourself the opportunity to keep it. Not now, at least.