Beginning preschool or nursery is a big milestone for both you and your children. Every child will respond differently to the new routine, but there are a number of things that you can do to make the transition easier for both yourself and your children.


Get to know the nursery or preschool team

Make sure that you have spoken to the staff who will be directly looking after your children. Find out about their knowledge of multiples and make sure that you dispel any myths that may emerge. Remember, you are the expert on your own children. Talk to them about their individual routines, what comforts them, what they like and don't like, the milestones that they have hit already (e.g crawling, walking, or talking) and how they prefer to be addressed. Ensure that the team consider them as individuals and don’t speak about them as ‘the twins’ or ‘the triplets’ within the childcare setting.

Even if your children attend the same session, they may have a different key person - a member of staff that is assigned to be responsible for building relationships and monitoring your children's development whilst at nursery. 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.

You may also find it useful to give a copy of our individuality factsheet to each of your children's key workers. The factsheet is available to Twins Trust registered users - sign-up now or if you are already registered, sign-in to access the download.


Twin girls stand back-to-back in a garden with their faces turned towards the camera


Should I keep my twins or triplets together or apart at preschool?

Every child and family is different, so there is no single right answer to the question 'Together or apart?'. It will depend on your children's characters and the way they interact with each other.

Whilst considering your options for the childcare setting and also which days and sessions to send your children, you may wish to arrange for the children to attend some sessions together and others separately, so that they develop a sense of individuality and confidence in being on their own. If it's a larger setting, it might be possible to have them in separate rooms for specific sessions. Realistically, this needs to also work out for your family logistically and financially, so you need to find a balance of what supports your family in the best way possible.

Preschools and nurseries are expensive in the UK, especially for families with multiples, so do ask whether a discount is possible and ensure that you check our funding and support section to make sure you are making the most of the grants and government financial schemes available, including tax-free childcare and funded hours.


Encouraging individuality

As multiples tend to develop very closely together at home, it's important to ensure that you are encouraging them to develop their own sense of self throughout these early years. There are a few ways of doing this as they start the next step of preschool.

  • Give your children their own bags and coat pegs, don't provide them with just one larger bag to give to nursery or school, so that they understand they have their own coat and belongings.
  • Get them used to doing things on their own, such as going to the toilet or choosing their clothes, so that they get used to being separated. 
  • Once your children are old enough, make sure that they can dress themselves without asking for help from the others. 
  • Talk to your children about what will happen at preschool or nursery, including encouraging them to make new friends. Talk to them individually about this so that they can voice their own opinions, fears and expectations. 
  • If you don't talk about 'twins or triplets' at home, talk to them about it before they start preschool and ask them if they know what it means - someone will be bound to call them twins or triplets in the new setting and it's helpful if they already are prepared and understand what it means. 
  • If the children are identical, or look very similar, make it easy for other children and staff at the nursery or preschool by dressing them differently, giving them clothing that are labelled, or giving them different haircuts or colours of glasses. Encourage them to dress how they want to, rather than dressing them to match.


Additional considerations for multiples

According to research by Pat Preedy, multiples may be more prone to experiencing delays in speech and language development. This is alongside other considerations such as experiencing dominance between the siblings, delayed social ability due to not playing with children other than their siblings and over reliance on each other.

It's important to keep talking to your children's key persons at their nursery or preschool to identify any concerns early and to keep track of their development individually. Any worries about speech or language delay can be flagged to health visitors at their milestone check-ups.

For more information and a helpful checklist, visit the Twin Education website.


How can Twins Trust help me?
Register as a free user, or if you are already registered sign-in, to access further information, including our individuality factsheet.



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