Even if your children are in the same class you should make sure you have separate appointments to discuss their progress. It is a good idea to avoid comparing your children with each other – and don’t allow their teachers to do so either. Instead discuss their progress within the context of their year group. Only raise the issue of being a multiple if there is a related concern that you want to discuss. Consider having separate visits or at least different times on the same evening to look at their work.
If there are problems with your children in the classroom, the school will let you know at parent’s evenings – and if there are serious problems you will be told much sooner. Sometimes your children will tell you themselves if something isn’t going well, but you may see signs that something is wrong. This could be a change in behaviour, where a previously happy child suddenly ‘down’ for long periods, or, unexpectedly disruptive – or even quiet and withdrawn. Other signs are if your child has nightmares or is wetting the bed.
However, school may not necessarily be the problem: are there any major upheavals or family problems that might be upsetting your child? Devote some quiet time to talk, and ask if there is anything wrong.
If all else fails, ask your other children what is the matter. Multiples often have a surprising understanding of what is going on in each other’s minds. Beware, though, of invading your children’s privacy – perhaps they don’t want you to know what is wrong.
It is important for multiples to make friends individually as well as together. If this doesn’t happen naturally, then engineer opportunities for them to meet their schoolmates on their own. Perhaps one child can invite a friend to visit while the other is doing sport or at another friend’s house.
Encourage your children to talk about their social life at school and find out which of their classmates they spend most of their time with. Talk about playtime, and who they play with. Who sits at their table at lunch or in class? Whose company do they enjoy and share interests with? Invite their best friends round to play, if this isn’t possible, then you could meet at a local park or in the library. child can invite a friend to visit while the other is doing sport or at another friend’s house.
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Schools days can present unique challenges for parents of multiples. If you feel you need a listening ear, Twinline, our Freephone helpline can provide you with valuable support. Twinline is staffed by trained volunteers who are parents of multiples and is free for all members and non-members. Twinline is open everyday from 10am to 1pm and from 7pm to 10pm on 0800 138 0509 (freephone). If you need to speak to someone out of Twinline hours you can email Ask Twinline.
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