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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Who's Who? Telling Twins Apart at School!
Who's Who? Telling Twins Apart at School!
As your twins and multiples enter school, it becomes important for teachers, classmates and other non-family members to be able to identify each child, especially when they are in the same class. Not only does it enhance the individual child's self esteem to be recognised as themselves, but it also reduces stress for the teachers.

1) Dress Sense - Mix not Match
Dressing twins alike is a contentious issue among the multiples community. Some do, some don't. I personally advocate not dressing them alike if at all possible but whatever your preference, consider refraining from the practice when your kids are in the care of outsiders. It makes it easier on everyone by providing an immediate visual clue and is less embarrassing or annoying for the children too! Outside of school, I choose to go down the co-ordinated route so my twins often have the same style of clothes but in the colours they prefer and ones that identify them as individuals to outsiders too. At school, they have a choice of three colours of uniform which is quite unusual& and they are also in different classes. This helps but children and other parents do still mix them up but they are quick to tell them who is who!

2) Colour Coding your Twins!
Starting at birth, many families elect to use a system of colour coding for their multiples, for instance, my twin girls like pink and lilac respectively and out of school, usually choose to wear these colours, have cups and toys in these colours too! Consistently selecting clothing and accessories in the assigned colour not only helps distinguish the individual children, but also their belongings. At school, if you are lucky to have a choice of uniforms, pick a different key colour for each of your children (mine have red or blue cardigans and tights but the rest of the uniform is the same). If you do not have the choice and your children are in the same class, then style their hair differently or use different hair bands. For boys this is harder but different hairstyles may work or coloured armbands is another solution.If your children wear glasses, then having different frames or colours is another way of helping others to tell them apart.

3) Educate the Educators!
As your children go to school class each day, ensure you tell the teacher who is who as the day begins. This may not be necessary if your twins are in different classes or they are very different in physical appearance but for identical twins, this will help the teacher identify with each child more easily throughout the day.

4) Twin Tags
At school ensure EVERYTHING is labelled clearly with the appropriate name on it. I know the teachers at my school are constantly having to remind everyone to do this and not doing it can lead to double the expense as items easily go missing. If the teachers and/or children are finding it difficult to identify your children, you may even want to label your children as a last resort!

5) Spot the Difference
Even the most identical twins have some distinguishing characteristics and these can help others tell them apart more easily without having to constantly ask who is who! Physical characteristics are determined by either genetics or the environment Nature versus Nurture and although it is usually easier to tell same sex fraternal twins apart, identical twins tend to also have some facial differences that can help identification. For instance, they may have a distinguishing mole or freckle. Avoid comparative features like height or weight as people can't rely on them unless the twins remain together at all times.

6) Name Association
Associate each child's name with an attribute that distinguishes him or her. For example, you may have twins with the same colour hair but one has curly hair and the other straight hair. Even though they may be quite different in appearance (as well as personality), the fact that they are twins with the same colour hair is enough to confuse people! Remind people of the difference to help them remember each child and if they dont the kids will! You could also try to find a phrase that rhymes, uses alliteration, or otherwise sticks in the memory.

7) Twin-kle Toes!
Start the year off on the right foot by choosing different shoe styles for your twins! It's a quick and easy way to distinguish them, especially when they get old enough to choose their own clothes and resist the other techniques mentioned here. I find as I have always encourages my girls to dress differently, it is easy to get them to select different shoes the only problem is remembering to get them early in the season so they have a choice left in the shops!

8) Guesswork!
Reassure teachers, classmates and other parents that it is okay to mix up your multiples, even parents call them the wrong names some of the time! Yes, it can be annoying how would you like to be asked who you are again and again but they get used to it and most take it in their stride. My twins will correct anyone who has the audacity to get their name wrong and I even play a game with them deliberately mixing them up to see what they will say! Encourage teachers to make a guess (they have a 50/50 chance of getting it right!) or to politely ask, "Are you Samantha or Chloe?"

Looking for more information about school-age twins and multiples?
Our general guide, Twins at School - A Guide for Parents and Teachers is a good starting point. If you have little ones about t start at school, then you may find Preparing Your Twins for Primary School has some handy pre-school tips for you too!

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