Guest Author - Julixa Newman
Five years pass in a blink of an eye. Next thing you know they're going to school! The time has come, and all that HARD work you did raising the twins will now be changing to a different format. (Did you ever think you'd be missing the times that they created havoc as toddlers in the 15 minutes you left them alone upstairs during the day?) Now that you're soon approaching this transition, we've taken the the liberty of compiling some tips to help you and your little ones make an easier transition to the elementary school years.
All the studies of twins seem to point to the idea that as a rule, they develop slower than their singleton peers in many scholastic areas. It is very important to work with the twins individually AND together on the alphabet, basic phonics, and anything else they can absorb via flash cards, computer games, and lots of books. It also doesn't hurt for them to learn by seeing their parents' good example-so the more they see you reading, the better! Since your twins are your biggest fans, use it to your advantage. Not only do they want to do what you do, but they will love and benefit from you reading to them as much as possible!
Another hot topic of such twin studies is that they more often suffer from attention disorders. While some of this may be related to being born premature (as many multiples are), some may also be from having a built in buddy to create distractions all the time. ADD and ADHD are becoming more prevalent, and it may be hard to admit if you are used to the child being a little wild. As a parent who has dealt with this, I know it is hard to admit, but that's the hard part necessary to get to the main goal-getting help and fixing the problem. Since each child is unique, one twin may require a different approach from the other. If you (or a teacher) see problems arise, seeking a mental health professional can help simplify the steps available to help (usually via educational materials, school accommodations, and parenting/home adjustments).
Because of the costs associated with day care and other organized activities, many families may elect to have a parent stay home to raise twins until school age approaches. In addition, many multiples may also lag behind in some organized activities as well-such as dance lessons, gymnastics, karate, etc. As a result, they may lose out on the opportunities of learning the basics of classroom behavior: sitting in a circle, raising hands before speaking, and interacting with (several) other children besides their twin. If it is at all possible, enrolling the children in a half day preschool may help immensely. It may also help the parents with the dilemma of whether or not to keep the twins in the same classes or not-some states leave the choice to the parents, so the preview of how they act together could be very valuable. If preschool is not an option, I would recommend turning a few hours during the day (or whatever time is possible) into your own "preschool." Show them the tools and etiquette necessary to behave in a classroom setting yourself-and perhaps invite some other neighborhood toddlers over if you like!