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I have toddler twins that are currently in the same class at school. What research has been done so that I can decide whether or not to separate them next year?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

This really depends on your twins. There is no generic answer that fits every twin couple. It all depends on the competitiveness of the children. If you see that one is constantly overruled by the other, splitting up might be good. If they really develop well and they like the others company, let it be in one class. We have kept our twins together, but we continue to assess the situation.

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I can't imagine a study that could give a better answer than this. It really is the sort of thing that will depend on the kids. – Saiboogu Mar 29 '11 at 22:12
It seems that the answer to most question about raising kids start with "It depends on the kids . . . ." :) – Marc Feb 7 '14 at 19:58

Don't separate unless there's a good reason to.

Here's my story, and the reasons behind it:
I spent several years in the same class as my twin, but later (as we moved to a new country) we were put in separate classes. Much later, we were again in the same class.

We were separated because my brother relied too much on me; he didn't make notes on what homework was required, so if I didn't write it down or remember, we were both screwed. By separating us, my brother learned to get by alone, and so it wasn't a problem that we were in the same class again later.

But the separation had social downsides because the two classes were not on speaking terms so we were isolated from each other also during breaks, and having class friends over was always difficult. The teachers knew about this class "war" in advance but didn't think it would matter. It did.

So if there is a good reason to separate, and there are no serious known downsides, then do go ahead. But consider when and how to join them again if other issues arise.

At the same time, make sure they get opportunity to spend enough "twin time" together away from that "split-class" context, like in a sports club or scouts club.

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That sounds like a somewhat uncommon situation to me... though I could be wrong; it certainly sounds like others have underestimated this before me! I don't think I'd take away that "you shouldn't separate unless there's a good reason to;" rather I'd take away that if you are considering separating twins for class you should make sure they have the time and closeness they need together in other formats. – Ziv Mar 30 '11 at 8:56
It's not uncommon at all. Twins are often not equally strong in all fields; there's always one more prominent twin, but it varies depending on the topic (say, math vs. sports). I updated my answer based on your comment. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Mar 30 '11 at 9:07
No, I meant - the situation you describe, of "class wars" so fierce that having a brother in the opposing class is a real problem, sounds uncommon. – Ziv Mar 30 '11 at 13:05
Ah; yes I hope such strong rivalry is uncommon. Still, your input is valid: make sure there's time for "twin time" somewhere. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Mar 30 '11 at 14:07

It used to be common for schools to insist twins be separated in school, regardless of the parent's views. Thankfully, this seems to be less common these days. My school district has never pushed to override a parent's preference. After all, they know the kids best, and they have to live with the results. I don't.

That said, I've had twins together, twins with me but different periods, and twins separated to different teams of teachers. I have a set of triplets in the same room this year. My anecdotally supported opinion is that there can be no general advice. Kids are different. Somebody's got to know the kids as individuals and make a decision.

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