Choosing a nursery
Nurseries provide a great environment for all sorts of things: learning how to interact with other children and adults, messy play (which someone else cleans up) and a safe introduction to life outside the home.
Asking other parents for recommendations is a good starting point. Try to think about the suitability of each option for each child individually, as well as for the children together. It’s a good idea to talk to the nursery about whether they have a ‘twins policy’. The best policies state that every situation is different and the needs of every child are assessed individually. In other words, ‘our policy is that we have no set policy’.
Talk to the staff who will have direct contact with your children and find out their beliefs about multiples. Dispel any myths that emerge. Remember you are the expert on your children. Tamba has an information sheet A Teachers Guide to Twins Triplets or More in School which you may find helpful to give to staff.
It may be possible for each child to have a different key person, even if they attend the same sessions. This can make it easier to discuss the children’s progress without making comparisons, and can give the children a sense of independence. This should come down to your choice following discussion with the nursery - what will be most effective for your multiples may not work for another family so keep an open dialogue with the nursery about your children’s needs.
Together or apart?
There is no one right answer to this question. It will depend on your children’s characters and the way they interact with each other.
You wish to arrange for the children to attend some sessions together, but others separately. This can be difficult logistically, but it gives your children a chance to try both approaches. Playgroups and nurseries can be expensive for families with twins or more, so always try asking for a discount or see if a grant is available.
Preparing children for nursery: tips
- Encourage their individuality from the very beginning.
- Get them used to doing things on their own (going to the toilet, for example) so that they don’t mind being separated.
- Make sure they can dress themselves (individually, without each other’s help).
- Talk about what will happen at playgroup or nursery, including how they will each make new friends. Talk to the children individually, so they can voice individual fears and expectations.
- If you have played down the ‘twinship’, check that the children know what twins or triplets are. Someone is bound to call them ‘the twins’ or ‘the triplets’ at some stage.
- When the children have settled in, encourage them to invite new friends home to play.
- If the children are identical or very similar, make it easy for the pupils, teachers and other staff to know which child is which – even if they are running round the playground in the distance. Possible distinguishing features include hairstyles, the shape or colour of glasses; hair ribbons, badges, clothes labelled with initials, or consistently different clothes.
For more on life with preschool multiples, download Tamba’s guide Twins, Triplets or More: Years 2, 3, and 4 or any of our factsheets. You could also attend one of our talks designed to help you get to grips with some of the issues and challenges you may face when your multiples enter pre-school. These talks are held in London - for details of the next talk click here.
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