Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Twins in school
There is a set of twins in his class you see and I had the pleasure of both of them reading to me. They are lovely girls, but like mine, you wouldn't know they are sisters, let alone twins, by looking at them. I couldn't help but notice that one was significantly more fluent with her reading than the other. I am not judging the girls, neither is struggling in the way some kids are, I just noticed. And it got me thinking, what would I do?
How would I handle it with my twins?
Of course, there is a high probability that with twins you are going to face the conundrum of unequal ability in the classroom, or somewhere else like the sports field, at some point. If it is not reading, it'll be something else.
It happens with all siblings of course, but I can't help but think that having an age-matched peer right there while you are struggling along wouldn't help your confidence much.
As parents our role is to help our kids accept themselves. Warts and all. We aren't meant to compare and contrast the skills and foibles of our children. As humans it is near impossible not to notice, but I guess we have to help our kids keep things in perspective. It ain't an easy gig.
I was lucky to bump into the twin girls' Mum on Friday. We have bonded over the Mums-of-multiples thing so I felt comfortable raising my observation with her and asking her how she was handling it. I really wanted to take the opportunity to learn from her.
She said that she has to spend more time helping the less accomplished reader with her homework (which of course results in a "But why don't I have to read to you twice" from the other one. She also spends time reassuring the struggling one and pointing out things that she did 'first' as a baby e.g. crawling. Reinforcing the mantra that we 'all learn differently'. She also spends a lot of time praising the one who is managing well, trying to ensure continued interest in reading and motivation to keep learning. She also makes sure they do different extra-curricular activities so that direct comparison isn't the norm e.g. one learns the violin while the other learns the cello.
The key? She spends a lot of time with her girls.
Even if you don't compare your children, chances are other people will.
I'm thinking it is best to develop strategies for dealing with the hurt now. That way once I am put to the test, I'll be an old hat.
Have you had this issue in your family? What about when you were growing up? What strategies do you/did your parents use to manage it?