4 Year Old Twins - Holding One Back in Pre-k or Both?

Updated on October 12, 2010
V.D. asks from Miami, FL
24 answers

I have four year old boy/girl twins and they are in pre-k. My son is having so many social problems at school (behavior, interaction with children etc.) I have been told that he should stay in pre-k one more year for maturity issues - which I am more than fine with but my problem is that my daughter is doing wonderfully. Since they are twins do you think I should hold her back to so that it's not strange for them as they get older or am I just harming my daughter to protect my son? They will be going to a different school next year so neither of them would notice but I'm just not sure. Thanks!

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answers from Minneapolis on

This is a hard one, but you are right to see and treat them as individuals with different strengths and skills. Give them both what they need as separate children and make them feel as special as they are. You can't just think of them as twins. In fact with a boy and a girl in different grades, many people won't even be aware that they are twins.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Hi V., I am a VPK teacher and personally have seen issues in the children in Prek that would make you think to hold them back. But the parents chose to send them on the Kindergarten. Over the summer between prek and K, there have been major changes and were beyond ready for Kindergarten and blossomed. Are they really recommending this already in the school year? That really is a decision that should be made towards the end after he has had a year to get used to all this. Personally, I would say let them both go to Kindergarten and then hold him back a year there if he needs it. Also, I have 8 year old boy/girl twins and it would have been devastating to my son to have his sister go on and he stayed behind. His sister does better in school now and it is already a challenge with him, that would have ended everything, I believe.
Hope this helps!!! Contact me if you would like to.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Going with Beth on this one. They are 2 separate individuals, and you must treat them as 2 kids, not as one.
My husband is "a twin." Up until age 11 or 12, that's how he and his brother were always referred to: THE TWINS.

My husband skipped 4th grade and went to 5th, b/c he excelled in all the academics. My BIL stayed in 4th.
This was very beneficial to both of them. They expanded their friendships beyond each other and developed different interests at that point. my BIL went majorly into music and my husband did lots of student gov't/ leadership things. They both have said (as adults they have mentioned this) that this may not have happened if their parents kept them together in school just to "keep them together."

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answers from Indianapolis on

As a mom of twins, boy/girl, I can't imagine not having them in the same grade. We seperate them into two different classes, but different grades, no way. This is pre-K, not high school. Hold them back a year, boys are notoriously immature and it will do him so much good to have the extra year. The girl, I'm sure she's doing great, but it's not going to hurt her either to wait another year.

Ours were actually the same way and still are to an extent. The boy is still immature, this is very common for boys.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I've never heard anything good about splitting twins up, whether its in different grades or splitting them into different classes in the same grade. My husband is a twin and he hates the trend nowadays to split twins up for their own good or some such nonsense. His cousin split their twins up into different classes in 1st grade because the school said it would be better for them and now they have a bunch of behavior problems they didnt have before.

Ultimately you have to do what's best for your children, but I think splitting them up might do more harm than good if they're really close.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Pre-K is supposed to be getting them ready for Kindergarten. It is more for social adjustments than academic. I would let them go to Kindergarten and if he is still having problems then hold him back. Pre-K may not be structured enough for your son or the teacher may not be strict enough. There are so many angles to look at this from. What does the teacher say?

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answers from New York on

i would send both to kindergarten, and then retain the one if he is still having problems by the end of kindergarten. pre-k is optional, meaning, my twins didn't even attend pre-k. i kept them at home and worked with them. they entered kindergarten at age 5, i kept them in the same classroom, so that the mature one would be of support to the one struggling with behavior. one had emotional problems triggered by health problems. the teacher worked with us, put her on behavior chart. she did great. in fact, awesome. but then i had the entire summer to ourselves to work with her. now they're both in 1st grade, separated in different classrooms, both doing great.
bottom line, my advice would be, let them finish pre-k and send them to kindergarten. work with your son during kindergarten, ask the teacher to help you out. after graduation assess the situation. if he still shows behavioral problems then let him repeat kindergarten (at least he will be learning in kindergarten. pre-k is more just games).

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answers from Washington DC on

I would definetly wait and let them do Kindergarten first. Kids change so much so quickly. Also, boys do tend to be more immature than girls anyway. This way, if their is a problem, the school will pick up on it.

I wouldn't split them up at this point, and really not ever unless absolutly necessary.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Johnstown on

As a mom of twins myself, I'm looking at the situation this way: how will they feel having one of them graduate a year ahead of the other knowing they could have both graduated at the same time. This is pre-k. This isn't 10th grade. I would personally either hold them both back or allow both to advance; afterall, if they are going to a different school next year, the situation may be completely different for both. GL

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answers from Melbourne on

I have 5 year old boy girl twins, and my son is much more immature than my daughter also. We are working on his attitude and social grace now in kindergarten. I had troubles with him in VPK also (and when I say I had troubles, I'm putting it lightly!), but never considered holding him back. Luckily I had amazing teachers in VPK and now in kindergarten that expect that every child won't be perfect. I won't hold him back unless I have to.
I am also a twin myself, and my sister was held back in first grade. You don't want to think it will affect the child, but trust me, it was one of many factors that made my sister very bitter in life. Twins will always be compared, who is smarter, who runs faster, who reads better, so if you're son can overcome his obstacles and not be held back, that would be wonderful. If he really has trouble in kindergarten, I would hold him back though, because even though he's a twin, you have to do what's best for him as an individual. I'm really dumbfounded that anyone would suggest holding a child back in VPK.


answers from Nashville on

I agree with photomama as well and gamma G.



answers from Tampa on

That's a very hard decision you have to make. Girls normally mature faster than boys. Personally I would probably keep my daughter back so that they can graduate together. Twins have a special bond between them that most people do not understand. I have two sets of twin brothers. When they were wanting to hold one of my brothers back my Mom told them they either hold both of them back or pass them both. I was little so don't remember what Mom did but I think she held them both back. I know they graduated together. Maybe you can get him a tutor. That is what my neighbor did with her son. They wanted to hold him back a grade the last two years and she got tutoring for him and he caught up and was ahead of everyone in the class when school started. But for some reason he always drops behind as the year progresses. I personally would keep them in the same grade but you know your children better than anyone. And they more than likely will end up going to High School together and that could cause your son a lot of teasing and bullying because he is a grade lower than his twin sister.



answers from Norfolk on

As a twin, I have to say you're in a very hard position. My sister and I were very competitive (but in a good way) all through school. In fact, we pushed each other to excel. I would be afraid that holding only him back would make him feel inferior as they both got older. But at the same time, I agree that your daughter should not be punished because her brother is not ready.

I would definitely talk with the school administrators and maybe even an impartial children's academic counselor. Also, Parents of Multiples or a similar organization will probably have tons of info on this issue. You definitely need to find someone who was in the same situation and can tell you how it turned out. Good luck!



answers from Columbus on

I am not sure about the twin part here, but please log on to www.wrightslaw.com and read about retention before you hold your son back from kindergarten. It is a very poor educational decison for children who are experiencing issues, and will delay his intervention and shorten his the time that he will recieve effective educational strategies by one full year. It almost always means that you will be fighting with your school to see his delays as significant, becasue they will be comparing him by grade, and you will be comparing him by age, but that will fall on deaf ears. You put a child with issues that need targeted educational strategies at a great disadvantage, and you acutally raise the chance that he will experience full academic and/or reading failure significantly. The second most correltated variable for dropping out of school, using drugs, and having contact with the juvinle justice system is being older than peers in at grade level. It may "feel" good now, and seem like the best thing for him today, but he will reap the concequences for the rest of his life. You will hear many anedotal stories about the success kids have when they are held back, but that is NOT what the data shows at all. Please check it out before you make this decision. www.wrightslaw.com scroll down the left side of the page, and click on retention. Wade through the articles. You may want to read about advocacy while you are on this site. My hunch is, it will help you greatly. What you want for your son is to get him the help that he needs, and he should be getting the targeted intervention neccessary so that he can be with his age peers, not in a class of younger kids that mask his issues, maybe even insuring his failure in the process.




answers from Tulsa on

I think I would question the teacher who, only a month into the school year, has already decided your child isn't going to make it in Kindergarten a year from now...that' s very odd to me.

A lot of social development happens in Pre-K and Kindergarten. I would never decide at this early date about what might or might not happen a year from now in child development.

I don't understand the twins going to different schools though, I would like to know more about that.



answers from Tampa on

Although I'm not a mother of twins, I agree with photomama. Don't hold them back and see what happens.



answers from Los Angeles on

Like some of the other moms, I'm inclined to think that holding your son back could lead to problems for him and your family dynamic in the future. What about the possibility of not holding him back but getting him extra help (behavioral therapy, other small group classes) after school and through the summer? Young children are quick learners and with enough early intervention those with challenges end up doing great. This way it could be a win/win situation for your son (he won't feel left behind or like the "slow" one when he's older) and your daughter (she'll keep moving forward at her pace.) Also, I believe that the public school systems are supposed to provide services to children that present a need (behavioral, occupational, speech, etc...) at no cost to the family and regardless if the children attend a private school or preschool.



answers from Tampa on

Even tough they are twins, they are still two different children and should be treated each one as to what they need. Good Luck.


answers from Tallahassee on

Keep them together - the stigma later will do more harm than good. Pre-K is not mandatory. The birth month makes a big difference too. Did they just make it or were they 4 for a while when they started Pre-K?

I have had personal experience with my own children and retention. Trust me my oldest is 13 and very petite, she is in 7th grade as she was held back in 2nd grade. A decision that I know was right for educational purposes, but she gets teased and called names and told she is a liar.
She has self-esteem problems that I can relate to as a teen.
Good luck, it only gets tougher from here with the school system.
M. F



answers from Boca Raton on

I have a similar situation in my family. Don't hold one back so that they will be together. Each child is destined to be their own...God bless and seek the guidance of the teachers.


answers from Dallas on

Keep them together. I'm a twin(g/g), and I also have a younger set of twin brother/sister (they're almost 10). They were held back last year in the third grade...but together even though my brother didn't need to be as much as my sister did. my twin and i were supposed to graduate in 2004 (high school)....i decided to do extra courses to graduate in 2003...needless to say, she's STILL holding a gruadge against me....because i went against the "twin plan." lol


answers from Portland on

Hi V.,

I've worked with children for 25 years and most recently with kindergarteners and I can tell you that it wouldn't hurt both of your children to be held back if you think it's best for your family. If it were me, I would hold her back with him as long as that isn't a problem for her. If you hold him back and not her, he becomes the "little brother" but he's still her twin and there may be some issues for him later on, where if you have them both in the same class, they're on the same level throughout their school years.

My youngest daughter was an August birthday and we had planned to homeschool her, but we changed our minds after I had taught her for her kindergarten year. We chose not to put her into first grade, though, because she would have been the youngest in her class. We never regretted that decision. When your child is one of the older kids in his/her class, it can give them an advantage in those peer pressure situations that begin even in kindergarten.

Best wishes to you and your twins!

~P. G.
Portland Preschool Directory
We can help you start your own local preschool directory!



answers from Miami on

You don't mention what month their birthday is in. If they are full term babies, they need to be a full 5.5 before they enter Kindergarten. That is the rule of thumb with us educators. It really doesn't matter if they are girls or boys. Eventually the immaturity catches up with them, be it middle school or high school. I would never separate the twins. That will be BIG issues between them later on. Your son (or both) may need early intevention. Most twins have Sensory Processing Disorder and they have behaviors as you have mentioned. The quieter twin can have it too but in a different way. Either hold them both back or send them both, with private intervention through developmental vision screenings, auditory processing screenings, occupational therapy evals. and speech/lang evals. This is where the immaturity is coming from when these systems are not integrated. I would keep them together at the same level for now unless there is a mandatory repeat of a grade for one of them at a later date, which if you think about it, they will then be 2 grades apart. So maybe hold them both back since they are twins and maybe preemie to an extent. It can't hurt to be the oldest in the class but the young ones never fair well.



answers from Dallas on

I wouldn't hold her back to protect your son, even though twins share the same birthday, they are two different people with a different set of skills and strengths as you have started to experience. Also if they will be in different schools, noone will even notice.
Furthermore, what if in the future your son conquers his social hurdles and catches up to the academic standard and he can move up a grade since he has the right age? then your daughter will be left behind? I know it's not a usual scenario but it could happen.
anyways, I'm sure you'll find the right decision for your family, good luck and keeps us posted,

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