After your children have learned to walk, talk, and use the toilet, the next big milestone you might be looking forward to is starting school. When you have triplets, you may need to ask yourself, your children’s teacher(s), and the school administration a few questions to help you set your family up for success at school.
Each question may need to be revisited each year as you learn what works (or doesn’t) for your children. Developing a positive relationship with the teachers and administration can be highly beneficial to your triplets’ education.
1. Should we place them in separate classes, or together?
This will depend on a combination of your school and your children. Smaller schools may not have the availability of separate classes for each child. If there are only two separate classes available, you could place them all together or pair two of them with one separated.
Consider the personality and needs of your children. If one is more independent, maybe they would enjoy being in a separate class. It also depends on the preferences of the teacher and administration (some have a policy regarding siblings in the same class).
2. How should we prepare them for the “big day”?
Many schools have an open house event to allow your children to meet their teacher and see their classroom before the first day of school. This is also an opportunity to meet other parents of children in the class and a chance for your children to meet their classmates. If they don’t have an open house, sometimes you can ask to visit the classroom and teacher prior to the beginning of the school year.
There are many helpful picture books about the first day of school. Read a few to your children some time in advance to help them get acclimated to the idea. This can also be an opportunity for them to express how they feel about starting school.
3. How should we make them easy to identify?
It may be helpful to give your children name tags or different colored shoes or other accessories to help their teacher(s), lunch staff, administration, and their peers identify them, at least in the early weeks.
4. How will we address their educational needs individually?
If your children share a teacher, it is recommended to set up separate parent teacher conferences or at least be mindful to discuss their progress separately.
You may also find it useful to give them individual attention when doing homework. This can be time-consuming, however, so ask your partner or any older siblings to help if they can.
5. How can we support their individual friendships?
Encourage your triplets to make friends on their own terms, whether mutually shared by their siblings or not.
If one or two are invited somewhere and one or two are not, the ones who weren’t invited may feel excluded. Remind them that it’s normal to feel this way, but it’s okay to not be invited to everything. You can make it into a special time by taking the child(ren) who were left behind to the movies or somewhere fun.
For your triplets’ birthday party, address each invitation from one of your children, rather than all three, so that the guest knows they only have to purchase one gift.
When your triplets start school, it can be an exciting and interesting time and all different feelings may arise within your family. Be sure to ask yourself and your school as many questions as you need to in order to feel as ready as you can be. Ask any friends who have multiples for extra tips, especially if their children attend the same school.