Twin Transitions: Kindergarten Readiness
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DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Kindergarten readiness has recently become a hot topic for many parents across the nation. Now, it is not only a question of age but also looking at the social and emotional development of children. For twins, it is a consideration for each individual child. There’s also the question of classroom placement, to keep together or to separate. I'm Dr. Christy Byrd, Early Childhood Educator and Statewide Program Director, and here to talk about Kindergarten Readiness for twins. This is Twin Talks.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Welcome to Twin Talks. We’re broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Twin Talks is your weekly online on the go support group for expecting a new parent to twins. I'm your host, Christine Stewart Fitzgerald. Have you heard about the Twin Talks Club? Our members get bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts. Subscribe to our monthly Twin Talks newsletter and learn about the latest episodes available. Another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free Twin Talks app. It’s available in the Android, iTunes, and Windows marketplace. I'm going to turn it over to Sunny, our producer.
SUNNY GAULT: Yes. So before I tell you guys a little bit more about myself, I do want to tell you really great way that you guys can get involve with Twin Talks. We are changing up the way we’re doing our recordings here for all of our shows for New Mommy Media, and everything is going to be recorded remotely as supposed to us kind of meeting in the studio type environment in San Diego which this is great news for anyone that’s wanting to be part of the show and you just haven’t had of chance to do that or you don’t live in the Southern California area because now, all you need is your computer and a pretty good internet strength I guess you could say, and you can join our conversation.
There’s more information on our website, at www.newmommymedia.com . If you just go to the homepage, there’s a banner at the top that tells people how you can get involved, so I encourage you to check that out. Okay, so about me. Now, let’s bring the focus on Sunny. So I have four kids. My oldest is five, a boy, I have a three year old boy and then my twins are identical twins, they’re girls and they’re just over two.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Yes.
SUNNY GAULT: Yes.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: You got two of each.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, I'm happy.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: So when people ask you, are you balance? And then, you want more? And you’re like well…
SUNNY GAULT: Well, I always one more but that’s not going to happen. We’re done.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: On the phone with us today, so Jules, can you tell us about yourself?
JULES MASS: My name is Jules Mass, I'm in Seattle Washington. My husband and I have been here for 10 years and we have triplet daughters, who just turned 5 on Wednesday, and one is fraternal and yeah, that’s it.
SUNNY GAULT: That says it all Jules. That says it all.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Three girls. And Carrie?
CARRIE GORDON: I am Carrie Gordon. My husband and I have seven year old fraternal girls and two year old identical girls. We live in Ocean City in Maryland. We’ve been here for about 20 years and I write a blog called “Made it you” or maybe not, that’s all we have.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, that’s it. That’s all. That’s all you have time to do Carrie, that’s it.
CARRIE GORDON: Because this is triplet.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: I was going to say, you know, we’ve got lot of girls here because you know, I'm your host here and I’ve got identical girls as well and I’ve also got a singleton girl. So my twins are six and then my third, she thinks of herself as a third twin.
SUNNY GAULT: I love that.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: She does everything with the six years old.
SUNNY GAULT: That’s great. How cute. You can have triplets.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Yeah, although I will not take that badge away . . .
SUNNY GAULT: That’s true. That’s true.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: I got to say, I mean, I don’t know between the two of you. I think twins too is a lot, and then triplets and two sets, I'm like, “Oh, my gosh.”
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah. You guys need as special badge. You do, seriously.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Yes. I'm going to just introduce, so Dr. Byrd, you want to just talk a little bit about of your experience with preschools and kindergarteners?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Sure, I’ve been in education for 28 years. I was a kindergarten teacher, and then I worked with the family literacy project running preschools. Currently, I work for the Orange County Department of Education, and train preschool transitional kindergarten and kindergarten at first grade teachers, and strategies that help students acquire the curriculum, and I do a lot of work with parents, looking at what do you need to know to help your child best and make sure your child is making the progress they need to make in school.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Wow, that’s a lot.
SUNNY GAULT: That is. That’s awesome.
SUNNY GAULT: So before we start out conversation today just talking about kindergarten readiness, we’re going to talk about a headline that I saw. I like to bring this up because we hear different stories about twins that are born really early or in this case for this headline, conjoined twins, it’s kind of scary thing when you think about you know, when each of us conceived and then the egg split or you know, I mean, it was just a moment of days or whatever that all of this happen, right?
When I think about conjoin twins, I think it could’ve very easily been my twins that went through this that’s why I like to bring this up because we’re all kind of in this thing together. The title of this, the headline for this is, Eight day old conjoin twins in Switzerland become youngest every pair to be successfully separated, so it’s a positive story and I like bringing this out.
Apparently, there was this ground breaking surgery, again, the twins … actually part of it, triplet, so the two twins and then they have a sister. They were born two months premature and they were conjoined to chest and the lever. It was a five hour operation. A team of five surgeons, six anesthesiologist, two nurses, again this took place in Switzerland, some minor complications afterwards but nothing that was life threatening but yeah, so they are now successfully separated.
This happen at the beginning of December, and it’s just a kind of a nice story to know that the babies are doing well. In fact, two of them are breastfeeding now. I don’t know. I like to share this just so everyone knows that good stuff can still come of a situation that can seem really traumatic when someone gets that news, you know, yeah.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Definitely, well, I think just having twins, for those who are expecting, I mean it just sometimes, you think, Oh, we’re automatically in that high risk category for pregnancy, and then there just all of these sort of things go off on our head like what could happen, what could happen, and you know, I mean it’s nice, you know, this is kind of one of the most dangerous situations but it’s got a great outcome and to me, that’s just like, you know what? Let’s just some alleviator fears to know that there are really good outcomes even if you’re in a really tough situation like that.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah. Thank goodness for medicine and for technology to be able to do this kind of stuff, right? Anyways, we wish the triplet family. We wish them all the best and of course healthy recovery for the twins that underwent the surgery.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Well, we’re here today with Dr. Christy Byrd of the Orange County Department of Education, and we’re talking about what needs to be considered when you’re determining if your twins are ready to enter kindergarten? It’s such a hot topic.
SUNNY GAULT: It is. It really is.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Oh, my gosh. Given your experience both in the classroom and as the educator and helping create standards, so what are some of the indications that a child is ready to attend school?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: You know, when we look at children, we always want to look at them, this is what we call the whole child. We want to look at both their social or all, their social emotional, their physical and their cognitive readiness. And so often, we hear about the things they already know how to do. Do they know about their alphabet? Do they know their ABCs? But really the most important thing we want to look at is that social emotional readiness. Are they ready to separate from their parents? Can they set for a time and listen to a story? How about getting along with other children? Are they willing to take their turn to share materials?
And then, do they have some self-help skills? Can they go to the bathroom by themselves? Can they put on and off clothes by themselves? So we want to look at that whole piece when we’re looking at children and say, in general, does my child look like a person who’s ready to walk out the door, have some self-help skills and is eager and excited to learn?
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: It’s interesting that I mean, when you’re answering that, it’s not academic terms. And you’re right. I think I hear so often like a lot of parents like, “Well, my kid knows how to count.” “My kid knows the alphabet and of course they’re ready.”
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Well, I can tell you, as a former kindergarten teacher, those are the things I could teach them. I couldn’t teach them those maturity issues are really what they are when they come in for that readiness to learn, readiness to be part of our group. We think about even if they’ve been to preschool or childcare, they’re still in kindergarten. They’re going to be in a much bigger group than they probably were in, and typically, it’s just the kindergarten teacher and the students. Some school, some districts you’ll get some aid time in kindergarten but there’s not a lot, so they really need to be ready, to be part of that group and go to school. The teacher can teach them those things that they need to know, cognitively.
SUNNY GAULT: That’s a good point.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: How would the parents even determine, if kids are in preschool, would they have some indication from their preschool teachers?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Yes, definitely. Preschools are excellent. Preschool teachers know what to look for. That’s one of things they’re looking at or children’s readiness for kindergarten and so, talking to the preschool teacher, asking them, and talking to other parents too. We need to get that big picture and particularly if it’s your first child, sometimes, you don’t know what should a kinder child just going to enter kindergarten look like.
So definitely talking to the preschool teacher and many preschools or some kindergartens, they’ll offer developmental assessments. Those are cognitive assessments. They’re not looking at what does your child know in terms of the ABCs and those things but they’re looking developmentally and they’ll offer you that and can give you an idea of where your child is under developmental continuum.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: I knew and I was just thinking. I knew it like my girls, we have them in preschool and we had them together for the first year and then we separated them for the second year of preschool. Part of our strategy was like let’s give them the separation earlier on rather than waiting to kindergarten. I don’t know if that … that was our strategy, approach towards it. But I would hope that the teachers would be able to evaluate them I mean as twins, being able to evaluate them individually not as, “Oh, hey, I got that twins in my classroom.
SUNNY GAULT: Right.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: That’s a tough one.
SUNNY GAULT: It is.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: When you talk about the social and emotional types of development, are they standards for entering kindergarten? Are they fairly consistent throughout the U.S.? I mean, do we see different standards here to stay?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Throughout the U.S. particularly now is regardless of how you feel about it or don’t feel about it as we’re moving to the common core standards. We’re seeing much more consistency across the states in what people expect but regardless even without the common core, there’s still are things that if a child is ready to learn, they’re ready to learn regardless of what state they live in. I know as recently, I had a conference in New Mexico. I'm talking with kindergarten teachers. We all have the same ideas. What children need to come with and what they need to know, and so I think you that consistently across United Sates.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Well, that’s good. That makes it easy.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: You know, am I leaving in an easy state or a tough state? And have they changed? I mean, I'm just curious overtime because I think sometimes I hear from folks says, well, you know, kindergarten is a lot harder than it used to be and oh, they have homework.
SUNNY GAULT: That is true. They do. They have homework.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Yeah, they have homework. What has changed overtime are really our expectations of what children are going to be able to do by the end of kindergarten.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Okay.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: When I first start to kindergarten in 1988, by the end of kindergarten, they were supposed to know their letters and know some sounds and if they could put them together and read some simple words, that was great but it wasn’t the expectation. Now, they’ve really are expected to be well on their way to being a beginning reader if not already a beginning reader by the end of kindergarten. The same thing with Math, it used to be, if they could do number quantity up to 20 and they understood one to one correspondent and they could add and subtract to about five, that was great. Again, that’s really expanded depending on the standard, how far they want to take them but some school of districts are going as far as 20 and 30 for their addition and their subtraction facts.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: For kindergarten?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: For kindergarten.
SUNNY GAULT: Wow.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: It really has expanded. And like you said the homework? That’s really if you’re looking at, is my child ready to go to school? You need to think about that high cognitive demand that’s going to be on them now that did not used to be there.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Wow. Now, Carrie I think since your older twins are in first grade I believe or excuse me, second grade?
CARRIE GORDON: Nope. They’re in first grade.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: They are in first, okay.
CARRIE GORDON: Yes.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Tell us a little bit about your experience. Did they go to preschool? How did you determine that they were ready?
CARRIE GORDON: Yes. I was a stay-a-home mom and I has been since they were about one, so it’s really lucky there, and we would join a lot of play date group and then when they were about four, I put them into like a preschool two days a week and they did well. What made me nervous is here in Maryland, we do full day kindergarten. So we’re back in Virginia where I grew up, they still do half stay and I was concern about, they nap because they didn’t get to nap anymore and I was concern if they’d be able to make it a full eight hours from morning until they got home.
That was little bit of struggle but at the end of the day, they’ve really, really enjoyed playing in preschool and interacting with the kids that we thought we should go ahead. They have early birthdays. There are birthdays at the end of December. They were little bit more matured than some of the kid’s is little bit older. They did well but my one daughter every day and even at school that teacher would have to keep her motivated because she would start to fall asleep in the afternoon.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: It really: That’s a really common thing with full day kindergarten when it first starts.
CARRIE GORDON: That’s I think it’s a big change to them.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: It’s a huge adjustment.
CARRIE GORDON: It really is.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: That’s a consideration.
CARRIE GORDON: They did it fast.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Yes. I mean to even look at you know, full day kindergarten programs versus you know half day based on your kid’s needs.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: It really is. I was actually fortunate when I was working in the … when I taught kindergarten, we were a school that was all walkers. We didn’t have any busses. We started with a half day kindergarten and then each trimester, we increased our kindergarten day, so as they were develop mentally ready, they got the longer day, and that was so successful but for most places, that’s not an option because of bussing like other schools on our district. That wasn’t an option for them.
CARRIE GORDON: Yeah, wow, that’s really neat.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: That worked out really well.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Wow. And then, sorry, for Jules then, how about for your girl? What was the process for entering kindergarten?
JULES MASS: Well, we are actually registering for kindergarten tomorrow.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: They just turned five, right?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: That’s right, yes.
JULES MASS: But our progression was, well, I always thought I would go back to work after I had them. Here in Seattle and I know it’s nationwide, just go, putting them into any sort of child care was not feasible. It just negated by entire salary.
SUNNY GAULT: Right.
JULES MASS: I’ve been home with them since they were born. I do freelance work and so we were not able to get them in the preschool until they were four and they’ve been going three days a week and it’s a half day and because of the situation of our schools here where we live in our particular area of Seattle, their kindergarten is only going to be a half day, so I'm kind of bound about that because I think they can handle a full day. They decided they were not taken naps anymore like three and a half, and so that was a real struggle, is like, what do I do with you all day? Just go to sleep.
You’re tired, and they would get, they would walk in the walls and they were so sensitive but they would not sleep because we have to split them up. We have two in one room and one on another room, and two in room would keep each other awake, so it was painless.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Oh, my gosh. This fall is going to be a really interesting time for you.
JULES MASS: We’re super excited. They’re ready for it. We have a school bus right down on the corner of us and I see them every time we go to our preschool and they’re like we want to ride the bus. I mean, the school is I don’t know a thousand feet away from us so we could walk. I could drop them off. They could take the bus, their site.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: That’s a city and that’s what you want. That’s how you know they are ready to go school. They’re asking you.
JULES MASS: Yeah.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: You know, it’s a big step.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Now that I mean, and that’s a great thing because you don’t want the kids that will tell you, school, I don’t want to go to school. I mean, they’re excited about that. I mean, wow. I wish all kids would be really aim depth.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: It would be really nice.
JULES MASS: Yeah. I know I'm supposed to be sad about it but.
SUNNY GAULT: No, you get a little potion of your life, probably, a big portion of your life back Jules. I wouldn’t be sad about that at all.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Now, Dr. Byrd, okay, so now, it’s particularly talking about twins and triplets like I’d forgot to throw that in there with three because that’s very unique. What are some other considerations because I think I’ve heard about different situations between fraternal versus identical or some special kind of unique needs of twins that we should be considering as well?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: They’re definitely are and as you said, there’s research as we were talking earlier before the show started, all over the map. You can find research that’s going to address any part, stands you want to take on this topic. My biggest thing is I always come back to looking at children as individuals, and even though they are one of two or one of three in terms of how they were born, they’re still individual people. And so really asking yourself, what’s important for this child.
And we know as parent as part of our job is really getting to know our children and knowing what interest them, what’s best for them and not pushing ourselves on to them and we think we would like to what they would like. And then I think again, which look at the parent, we think about you know, once they go to kindergarten, that’s your first emptiness step and it’s going to feel like a bigger emptiness then it would for a parent of a single teen.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Right.
SUNNY GAULT: Right.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: That’s going to be a little bit, you have to thank you for that in mind as a mom, but as you look at your children and you think, should they be in the same class? Should they be in different classes? I think you have to decide what’s important for my children and my family and what’s going to make the best for them. You think about fraternal and identical, there’s a little bit of research out there that says, identical is a little bit stronger personal bond there but I get you have to look at your children as a kindergarten teacher.
I had twins a few times in my room and a couple times, the parents chose to keep them together and a couple times they chose to separate them. We always let it be a parent choice the school I was at, and so parents had different reasons for why they chose what they did. But again, it comes back to who is my child? Who are my children and what’s going to make the best for them?
SUNNY GAULT: I have a question with that because now, my girls are only a little over two, so we’ve got some time, right? But if I were judging just based on what I know of them now, I would probably have two different answers. I would say, well, you know, Ansley, I think needs to be with Addy but Addy doesn’t need to be with Ansley, so I mean, what do you do when that happens?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: I think when that happens really and I can’t quote a study to back this up. I know I was reading some about that.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: The one that needs to be apart, I think you need to honor that over the one that needs to be together because there’s still going to be together at home.
SUNNY GAULT: Sure, sure.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Now, what about fraternal boy girl? I mean, you know, because I know I’ve heard sometimes, you know, maybe boys need a little bit more developmental times, so I don’t know how we come across the any situations where you’ve had opposite sex fraternal twins and maybe one was ready and one wasn’t?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: So personally, I haven’t but I again, I would come back to my thought would be you need to look at your children as individuals, and I know it feels like well if one starts, the other one should start but if you really think that one isn’t ready, I think as a parent then you have to make the decision for that individual child. And particularly shocking about boys and girls, we know from research, boys are about six months developmentally behind girls and that continues for a very long time. Look at them when they’re in high school.
SUNNY GAULT: That’s a whole other topic.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: I can acknowledge how hard that would be as a parent but I also know that if you start them both, it would be harder if one had to be retained or something in the future.
SUNNY GAULT: That’s true.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Then if you just said, you know what? You’re going to kindergarten. You’re going to go to kindergarten next year and that’s going to be fine.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: So would you, I mean, in that case, whether it’s boy girl, but if one is ready one is not, would you recommend I mean, maybe they both wait of one goes and split them up for grades or?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: If you wanted to keep them on the same grade, I think the best thing is they both wait. Overall, my personal, I'm a very much a developmentalist, and I think it sounds like the moms were talking to right now on the phone are doing some great things with their kids. Their children are going to learn and grow and if they have to wait, it would be okay. I don’t believe waiting is a detriment for a child.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Right. We’re going to take a break and we’re going to talk a little bit more about classroom placement in that tricky question of keeping together or splitting apart.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Well, welcome back. Today, we’re talking with Dr. Christy Byrd about kindergarten readiness for twins. And we’re addressing the tricky subject of whether or not they should stay together in the classroom. So for classroom placement, I mean this is a tough question I just hear and I know our panels are talking about this. Again, how can you determine what’s best for kids? I think we’ve mentioned earlier that maybe one might need something and the other one doesn’t.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: I think you start with what you know about your child because we know always parents other child first and most important teacher, and you know your child best. So start with what you know, hopefully and I’ve heard this from our panelist. You know, you’re going out. You’re doing a playgroups, observe your child in different situations.
Try to be that outside observer as hard as it is but step aside and watch and say, you know, what is my child really doing? How are they interacting? And then, you could talk to the school because like I said, a lot of times, they do have developmental screenings that they will do for you. They might not do them for everybody but every school has someone in their district that does that and you can request that. You can say I’d like a developmental screening. I’d like to know how old is my child developmentally?
That will give you some really good information and also show you how your child interacts with somebody who they don’t know. What do they show? That would give you an idea for how they’re going to act when they go into kindergarten.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: I don’t know. That’s an excellent point. I’ve never actually heard of a developmental screening.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: I know like when I was in Buena Park, that was one of my job, so I used to do the developmental screenings for parents.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Right. I'm wondering now, say that again, I think you know, I'll speak for my experience. My girls were in preschool together and then apart and so in our case, we felt that they would not socially developed with other kids. I mean, we would find you know, see some of the neighborhood kids and some of the kids would say, “Hey, do you want to play?” And they’re just almost, you know, turn, “No, we don’t want to play with you”, and they just play together, and I'm like, you know, so embarrass, so I'm thinking, okay.
SUNNY GAULT: Right.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: So we’re like, we realize really early on that they needed to learn how to play with other kids and develop other friendships and you know, just learn some of the social graces and learn how to be on their own. I would say when they were four, we’re like, okay, they need to be separate because they were just way to depending on each other for playtime and social one.
SUNNY GAULT: Right.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Both the researcher that I’ve been talking with several people over those last month who are twins or have twins, that’s what many of them mentioned. They just needed to be a part socially. And again, they’re going to be together when they’re home, so they’re like they’re never going to be see each other again, but they need to grow to that individuality and learn that oh, I can play with somebody else. I can talk to somebody else. I can be friends with somebody else.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Yeah.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, to your point Christine, I wonder if having like in the case of my girls, they have two older brothers and I wonder even though they’re all siblings, I wonder if that will help my girls be able to I don’t know, play with others a little bit more because they’re automatically acclimated to other people outside their twindom.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Yes.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Right.
SUNNY GAULT: You know what I mean? Seriously, even though it still siblings, I get that, right? But I wonder if that helps other twins out there that have older siblings that they have to…
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: That’s a really good point. None of the research has talk about that, so hey, maybe if somebody is looking for a research question…
SUNNY GAULT: There you go.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: There you go.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Definitely. Now, I have to ask Carrie because you got two sets. I mean, how has that in play when you’ve got two sets who are interacting with each other? So how has that played out in the social development for school?
CARRIE GORDON: Well, Harper and Lyla, on Harper, is very always very dependent on Lyla socially and they both had pretty good social skills but Harper did depend on her a lot. I check them together in kindergarten for that reason so that she wasn’t be shy in her first experiences in school or you know, bad one, but the teacher have said, once they’re school, they were very well independently however Harper really shy when Lyla is not around and she has to step up to the place and doesn’t have anybody there if Lyla was absent.
So we decided big space on that that we’re going to separate them in first grade and extend wonder to having them apart because they are making new friends. They’re doing all the day. Harper is not the one because she likes on Lyla to be her leader. She’s building more social skill, so in that aspect, that’s how we handled them.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: In kindergarten, did they sit near each other in a classroom or where they kind of separated within the classroom?
CARRIE GORDON: Whenever they had twin they always kept them like an opposite side to where they’re at.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Okay.
CARRIE GORDON: So that would bear together but they couldn’t sit next to each other. If there was an issue, of course they would let them be with each other but they always try to like have them in different groups and a different tables as much as they could.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Right because that’s typically how teachers then will balance that so that they do even they’re in the same room, like you said they have that security to know oh, you know, she’s right here but they are in different teams, they’re at different tables, they’re in different groups and so that lets develop around independence on that.
CARRIE GORDON: Right, yup.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: So that’s a really common thing for teachers to do. That’s usually how they balance that part of together but separate when they’re in the class.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Okay, and then how is it been in first grade? I mean, you said that they’ve done well. I mean, was there a transition period for as far as being separate in the classrooms?
CARRIE GORDON: Shockingly, there was not. We thought that there was going to be an issue but we started prepping them over the summer and unfortunately, we lie to them. We just said that the teachers have already been assign new students and they weren’t in the same class and we just figured that was easiest way where they didn’t have a choice instead of us asking, and they were okay with it. And I said, you know, you’re going to still, we’re still going to walk to school together. You’re going to walk into the building together and then your classrooms are in the same time. You’ll see each other at once time and reach us and we will walk home together, and they were okay with that. I was shocked that they were really responded well.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: That’s great.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Great, it’s good to hear.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: My girls are the kind of similar arrangement whether in separate classrooms and they’re just like one level across from each other and then it’s the same, yeah lunch time and recesses, they see each other. There’s connection point throughout the day, so it’s not like, oh I'm going for five hours without seeing my twins.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, right.
CARRIE GORDON: Right. I wonder if that will be different say you’ve mentioned, so it’s Harper and Lyla are fraternal, I wonder if it’ll be different and trying to separate or keep the babies together when they get setting being identical, that’ll be interesting.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Yeah, and like I said, according to research, there’s a very small amount, let’s say, there’s a change when it’s identical but it’s not a real strong research based, of the research that I found.
CARRIE GORDON: Right.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Now, I'm wondering, are there any other types of arrangements that might help twins through a transition, you know, maybe in parents when they’re talking to their teachers and having, you know, parent teacher conferences. If they feel that their twin is having a little tough time adjusting, is there something that either the teachers might be able to help them with in the classroom?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: Yes, that’s interesting, so you mean, having trouble adjusting if they’ve separated or having trouble just to…
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: If they separated.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: If they separate at all.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: If they separated, yeah.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: You might have the teacher especially if it’s like a particular one over the other. If they’re having trouble of having the teacher duties like the parent is doing and reminding them, you’re going to see your sister or your brother at recess, you know, you’re going to see them at lunch.
Perhaps, usually in elementary school, class is set together at lunch time. When they were in kindergarten, they set by their class so that you know, there’s little bit more like if do we know where everybody is, if that’s the case at your school and your childhood are having a little bit issue, see if maybe they could set together at launch like one could go join the other class at lunch, so that that would be okay, I get to set and eat together.
So thinking about those kinds of things that might help them make connections and realize it’s not like my sister brothers all forgotten about when I'm not seeing them.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Yes.
JULES MASS: But this doesn’t necessarily direct pertain to twins but one suggestion I had read about a child who was having separation issues was to help them pronounce pictures of their family or maybe their twin and make like a little a tiny book that they could keep in their back pack with them and look at whenever they started to feel lonely.
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: And that’s true, you’re right for any separation issue. So that’s a wonderful thing to set and have them do and then just arrange with the teacher where the child knows, you know, when can I go, you know, I can go look at that when I'm feeling lonely or I can go look at that at this time. There’s a certain time to look at that but you’re right and that’s for any child with separation issues. That helps so much.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: That’s so great. I love that. That’s a great idea. So now, okay, talking about separation and we now eventually at some point, right? When they go up to college, they have to be separated so what do you tell parents who may ask do my kids need to be separated? I mean is it mandatory?
DR. CHRISTY BYRD: I would say probably that depends on the school. Most schools that I’ve work with, they kind of leave it to the parent but when they get to be about second or third grade, teachers will start counseling parents that you know, you might want to think about having and be in separate classes because again, it’s about that individual, so just helping them develop and flourish in their own personality.
So most schools will start that, if the parent hasn’t already made a decision to separate them, by that second of third grade, starting to have that conversation, saying you know, here’s what we’re noticing. What are you noticing? Here’s the strength. Here’s reasons why you might want to and have just begin in that conversation.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Well, that’s good to know. Well, thanks so much to Dr. Byrd and our parents for joining us today. Be sure to visit our episode page on our website for more information about Kindergarten Readiness in Classroom Placement, and as well, as links to our additional resources. This conversation continues for members of our Twin Talks club. After the show, we’ll talk about crazy stories about twins at school. For more information about the Twin Talks Club, visit our website www.newmommymedia.com .
SUNNY GAULT: All right, so before we wrap up our show today, we have kind of a little story that we want to share with you. I posted something on Facebook if you guys are familiar with the National Organization of Mother of Twins Club, did I get that right? That such a long, I was messed up.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: Now, The Multiples of America.
SUNNY GAULT: The Multiples of America, also known as, okay. So I’ve posted something. I said parents, tell me your “Twin Oops” story. So the funny things of that’ve happen between either your twins or your family altogether. And this one I thought I would read. So Candy submitted this again, through Facebook and Carrie, this one is for you because she’s got two sets of twins so I thought I’d read this one for today’s episode.
So Candy says;
“We have fraternal girl, girl twins and then 22 months later, fraternal boy girl twins, all six weeks early and four pounders. We flew them to Texas when they were two and four on a Lockheed L-1011, if anyone knows anything about planes, which had six seats in the middle. The stewardess announced to the whole plane that there was a family with two sets of twins on board. We were in the back near the bathrooms and my husband answered questions on one side of the aisle while I answered questions on the other side while people are waiting in line to use the bath room. I love the way one of the stewardess stop to chat and asked me what kind of vitamins I took.”
You have to, Carrie, you have to get that when you’re I mean, we all get it as parents of twins and triplets but you have to be like, you have to get more questions on the rest of us I'm sure.
CARRIE GORDON: I do, I do. I'm just glad my older goes don’t look alike anymore because they can’t stop those questions from bombarding them.
SUNNY GAULT: There you go. Well, Candy, thanks for much for writing this and when I post something on Facebook I really appreciate it and we’re always looking for you guys Twin Oops stories so you can always submit through our website at www.newmommymedia.com.
CHRISTINE STEWART FITZGERALD: That’s wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Twin Talks.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
• Parent Savers your parenting resource on the go and
• Newbies for new parents.
This is Twin Talks, parenting times two.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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