Author: Belinda Smith
There are decisions that we as parents of multiples make that parents of singletons never have to grapple with. One that garners many a heated discussion is that of separating or splitting up our multiples when they start school.
I have seen many multiple birth Facebook groups asking the same questions – “Do I keep them together? Do I separate? What has been everyone’s experience?”
As our boys started Prep this year (2021) I have spent some time over the previous two years asking myself these very same questions.
I think this decision was compounded for me because I am also a teacher. My mumma heart was saying ‘Keep them together! Starting school is a big step and they can support each other.’ However, my teacher brain was saying ‘Separate – how will they learn if they are constantly playing up together and not listening to the teacher!’
Same class or separate classes for triplets?
The considerations I came up with for keeping them together included support for each other, only having to deal with one teacher, only having to deal with one lot of homework, only one teacher to see at parent/teacher interview time etc. Aside from supporting each other the rest of the reasons seemed to be good for us as their parents but at what expense to them and their learning. Please remember that these were my thoughts and feelings on this topic. I am in no way judging any parent that does decide to keep their multiples together. Parenting is hard and everyone’s situation is different and unique. Only you can decide what is best for your children.
Separating triplets at school – the reasons we decided to do this
In the end my teacher brain won out and we put the boys in separate classrooms. There were several reasons for this.
Firstly, my boys are identical. I did not want them to have to spend their whole time at school having to tell everybody who they were. Now I realise that will happen in areas outside of their classroom (ie the Office or Library etc). However, if they were separate then at least their teacher and classmates would know who they were and would not have to guess all the time.
Secondly, based on swimming lessons, where they spent a lot of time mucking around with each other and not listening to the swimming instructor, I decided that separating them was the best course of action.
Finally, I wanted them to be able to learn at their own pace without being compared to their brothers. I wanted to give them the space to concentrate on what they were learning without wondering how their brothers were completing the task or what part they were up to.
Separating triplets at school – reflections of their first year
Flash forward to the present and we are now in the middle of Term 3. I can confirm that I am very happy with my decision to pursue separating triplets at school. The boys are all doing exceptionally well. It did take the first few weeks for them to settle in and understand that they had their own classrooms. Occasionally they would follow each other into one room and the teachers would gently remind them to go to their own classrooms. Even the staff at the school have commented on how well they adjusted. They each have their own friends and have even had some friendly banter about who has the best teacher!
Ultimately this is a personal decision for each of us to make and it depends on your circumstances and children’s needs and concerns. As a mum my heart was saying keep them together but as a teacher I knew that separating them would be more beneficial in the long run including academically, socially and personally.
My one tip if you do decide to separate is to have lots of conversations with them about what that means. Talk about how fun it will be to have your own classroom and your own teacher and friends. We did this often in the lead up to school starting and I really think it helped with their transition.
Best of luck to all our new preppies starting next year!
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