First Day of Daycare (or School) Tip for Twin Parents

19 January 2012

Since we're living in our third city in 3 months and also attending our 3rd daycare within the same time span, I just may know a thing or two about easing the daycare transitions. My number one tip for starting the daycare (and eventually school) life right for twin is helping the adults around them see and treat them as individuals.

Any twin parent will tell you that the position comes with some novelty and celebrity status. I've enjoyed that for the most part. However, when it comes to being around their peers, I don't want my daughters to be "the twins!". I want them to be seen as individuals. Here's what I've done every first day in a new childcare environment
  1. Dress them differently even if they're fraternal. A lot of people are stuck on the stereotype of twins looking so alike that it's hard to tell them apart. For the first few days of daycare, I dress them differently and make a note of telling the teacher who's wearing what. By the third day, a good caregiver can comfortably tell them apart
  2. Spell out their name. I have a Nigerian name and so do my kids. In a public place where names are being called, I can always tell when it's my turn. A perfectly literate adult sees my 7-letter name and starts sighing, mumbling and looking flustered. 7 letters people! For me as an adult, it's a good party joke. For kids, it could be the difference between fitting in and being teased and/or bullied. If the teacher can pronounce their names as a matter of fact, the other kids will follow suit. If the teacher makes a fuss about their names being "funny" the other kids will also pick up on that. My solution is to spell out the name. A plus to this is also that you can define what you want the kid to be called versus being at the mercy of a teacher-chosen nickname.
  3. No personality tips. Because Sugar and Spice have such contrasting personalities, it's easy for me to label them and pass the label along to other caregivers. Not a good thing in my opinion. I let the caregivers know the girls' preferences for their physical comfort and that's it. So I don't say for example Spice is a picky eater. I simply say Spice likes to have 6oz of milk in her sippy before her solids.
Here's an example of the note that accompanies each girl on their first day of daycare.
Not much, but it's made a huge difference. What say you?

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