When twins are each other's best friend, should they be classmates as well?
Q: My 2-year-old twins are starting preschool. They are each other's best friend and tend to only play with one another at playgroups. I want them to make friends of their own. Should we have them placed in the same classroom or not?
A: You raise an important question, although there isn't a clear-cut right or wrong answer.
A Separate Classroom
As you point out, the pros of having your kids in separate classes is that they may make new friends, which is an important benefit of child care. And as they grow, they need to learn to cope in new situations without depending on their twin to always be there.
However, having to deal with both separating from one another for the first time and adjusting to child care may simply be too much change at once.
The Same Classroom
The benefit of keeping your children together is that they will have the support and familiarity of being with someone they know and love in this new setting, which can make the transition much easier. At the same time, being in preschool will significantly expand your children's world. You can enlist the teachers to help your twins begin to branch out and develop new friendships. For example, when teachers see them playing together exclusively, they can invite other kids to join in. This way the twins will gradually form relationships with their peers.
As the year progresses, the teachers can also place your kids in separate groups when they divide up the class for an activity. Over time, as your twins continue to be exposed to new activities and people, they will learn to interact with others on their own and function independently.
Claire Lerner, LCSW, is a child development specialist at ZERO TO THREE, a nationwide nonprofit that promotes the healthy development of babies and toddlers (zerotothree.org).
Originally published in American Baby magazine, December 2006.
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