Having triplets is an amazing journey full of joy and happiness, noisy fun, and chaos. As parents of triplets, we are often presented with some questions that we – most likely – only share with other families with multiples.
One of these questions is regarding if multiples should share or not a classroom. What we have learned in these last 10 years is that there is not a good answer to that. Even though separating multiples at school has been the most popular option, there is not a better way to do things or even a recommended one that all “multiple parents” can use as a guide. Each family needs to find out what works better for them.
Every single child needs to develop him/herself as a unique and independent person, regardless if they were born together with their siblings or not. But do they need to go to school separately to achieve that? For our family, the answer would be “not really”.
What to consider when deciding if your multiples are going to share or not a classroom:
How your kids feel about it. Their feelings and thoughts about being together or separated should be listened to and taken into account. Our kids always preferred to be together. When asked why each of them consistently answered that they liked this way because they know they have their siblings there if they are not feeling well or have any issue or need some help. And as mostly they work in different groups, they also enjoy having the same recess schedule, so they get to talk or play with each other if they want to.
How you as parents feel about it. Your own perception of how your children are doing with the current arrangement needs to be considered You see your kids every day and you listen to them: for sure if they are in the same classroom they are going to talk about school at home – believe me, A LOT! All that noisy chat should give you information.
What your children’s teachers have to say about it. You need the teachers’ feedback to support your choice. They are the ones that get to see and interact with them all day long during school time. They know how every kid is doing from an academic point of view – and this goes further than report cards: maybe one (or more) of the kids are being constantly interrupted by their siblings or if somehow they are interfering with each other learning process. The teachers can also give you valuable feedback from a social point of view – if they are acting as a group more than as individuals or if their behavior is preventing normal and healthy interactions with their peers.
Here some extra benefits we found in having our kids sharing a classroom and you may want to consider too!
Logistics are simpler. School concerts, class parties, field trips, school’s spirit events. Parent-teacher conferences are easy to organize even when you are going to take as many turns as kids- and concentrate on each kid at a time. No calendar conflicts, no running from one classroom to another, no accommodating impossible schedules. For us, it’s more quality time with our kids, more enjoyable moments if we can forget about the stress of needing to be in three times at once.
Playdates are easier to organize and all your children get to be happy with the kid visiting home. They all know each other and at this age, they are friends with most of their classmates. Reduced level of conflict at taking turns for choosing the friends that are coming home or joining us at an outside activity. We try to encourage some one-to-one time of each of our kids with their special friend during the playdate, and it’s not always easy, but sometimes works, even if that means you have to play with the other two while this special moment occurs.
If you just moved, it could help your kids at being the new ones. When we moved to the United States, our children were not only new to a country but also to a language. They asked to be in the same classroom, they felt safer and stronger together. We as parents could relate to that and everybody in their new school could too. For the first few weeks they were seated at the same table, after that each one was in a different group and making friends on their own. They did great and it was an amazing experience.
Having multiple children in the same or separate classrooms should be a family choice based on what works better for you at a specific moment. A choice open to be reviewed as many times as needed.