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Toddlers and Pre-School
Starting pre-school is possibly the first time multiples have had extensive contact with other children outside the family. Pre-school may also be the first time other children have encountered twins or more as a group. Start the children off together and, at a later stage, send each child once a week on his/her own. This means the each child will learn to interact with others without a “buddy” as a constant support. The child at home has an opportunity for one-on-one interaction with an adult. This may be difficult to implement with higher multiples.
Ensure the children are referred to by name, not as “the Twins” etc by all staff and the other children. Do not always think of the children as a unit, or comment on how alike or different each child is in relation to his twin, triplet etc. Any messages home on days that all the children are present should be given to all or else to each child on different occasions (a list of who got what, when will be required in the latter!). Also avoid sharing things equally between the children; i.e. don’t cut an apple in two for twins if other children get a whole one each! (It does happen.)
Staff in playgroups or pre-school should be flexible and open to suggestions from parents. After all, parents know their children better than anyone else. Occasionally, parents will need help from the pre-school in sorting out difficulties with the children and parents should check out that this will not be a problem once the children start.