Twins Milestone – Going to school alone

Because my twins Oscar and Hugo have always been incredibly shy, they find the most familiar of settings uncomfortable sometimes.

School has been one of those settings.

Considering kids go every day, for a shy child, school can still seem slightly daunting, however familiar they are with it. It’s the fear of the unknown… there’s bound to be something new happening each day after all, and the fear of being singled out, asked a question or asked to read out loud etc is real.

Oscar and Hugo are now in Year 2 and 6 yrs old. It’s not been an easy ride as they’re the youngest in the year group too…. premature August borns. But they have settled in and their confidence is growing all the time, albeit slowly.

Within their comfort zones, with their close group of friends and their regular teachers, they’re great. They do have each other too to lean on in times of doubt.

Up until the start of year 2, neither of them had been to school without the other. They’re in the same class… something I insisted on and had to fight for when they started school initially, and it’s worked well. But going to school without their twin just hasn’t been an option really, because of the shyness, and because they’ve always been together. It’s a whole other new experience that they just haven’t seemed ready for.

It hasn’t really mattered though to be honest because during reception and year 1, my boys were pretty much ill at the same time. They had colds together and bugs together… it may have over lapped a day or two when one possibly could’ve gone in, but at such a young age I was of the opinion that I wouldn’t want to cause them stress unnecessarily. They were just about coping with school so I didn’t want to upset the apple cart, so to speak, by forcing one of my boys to go into school on his own kicking and screaming.

This year though I made a promise to myself that if one was fit and healthy enough to go to school then he should, even if his brother was off. Year 2 is a big step up academically so I didn’t want them to miss school and fall behind, plus I believe they’re strong enough to cope now.

Last term I had to put this to the test quite early on.

Oscar and Hugo both picked up quite a bad cold and were off school for a day or two together. Hugo improved but because of his asthma, Oscar was in no way well enough to be in school….. so the day came.

Both myself, Scott and my daughter Poppie chatted with Hugo about it the evening before. We explained how he should go to school because he was well and that Oscar needed to stay home because he was ill. We had already discussed this at length over the summer, so that both boys knew it might happen but when it came to it now, I wasn’t sure how Hugo would take it.

To my surprise though, Hugo seemed ok with it. Excited even, and this hadn’t waned by the the following morning. He ate his breakfast and got dressed, all while I was reassuring him that he would still be doing his normal activities at school, even without Oscar (they sit on different tables anyway and play with other boys in a large group so it’s not as if they’re glued together).

But when it was time to go, Hugo’s mood shifted. The reality kicked it. He said he didn’t want to go without Oscar and began to cry.

My heart sunk and I felt so upset for him but reminded myself that I couldn’t just keep him home, however much I wanted to at that moment.

It was getting late though and I didn’t have time to faff about, we needed to leave. But I had to handle it right if I was going to get him out of the door!

I cuddled and squeezed him tight and tried to make going to school on his own sound fun. Different. Exciting! I suggested that now he’s a ‘big boy’ and doing so well at school, his teachers wouldn’t want him to miss any lessons and how great he would feel once he’d done it. I said anything really to encourage him and he gradually came around.

Just out of the car at school with a renewed excitement. 

I could see he was trying to be strong as he slowly, reluctantly climbed into the car looking sad. My heart went out to him. But once we arrived at school he spotted a friend and they ran in together and he didn’t bat an eyelid. Woohoo – wasn’t expecting that! I thought he would go to pieces at the door but no. I was so relieved. I did ask his teacher to keep an eye on him in case he felt a bit ‘lost’, as I reminded her this was his very first time at school without his twin and a big moment.

I felt emotional as I walked back to the car. It was a big deal for me too… a milestone in the lives of my beautiful boys. I then started to overthink… what if Hugo was on his own at lunchtime and on the playground at playtime? I had visions of him hiding in the corner somewhere, desperately missing his brother.

I fretted all day. Oscar even had a little cry at lunch time when we were discussing what Hugo would be doing at that moment. Bless him. He was worried about his twin too.

I literally couldn’t wait to pick him up.

I needn’t have worried though. Hugo came running out of his classroom absolutely beaming and full of himself! He’d had a great day and couldn’t wait to tell me all about it. It was wonderful, I felt so happy for him.

Hugo had learned that he could do it. He could go to school on his own and it would be absolutely fine. I’m sure it gave him a whole new sense of belief in himself, that he could do anything!

Proud just isn’t the word. Bless my little boy.

One down, one to go!

Then just before Christmas, the tables turned and this time it was Hugo that was unwell. That meant that it was Oscar’s turn to go to school by himself.

Oscar struggles more with his self confidence than Hugo. He’s  more shy. Even though they’re similar, Hugo has always been that little bit easier to manipulate. Oscar is very, VERY stubborn. When it came to talking him round to going to school without Hugo for the first time, I knew it wasn’t going to be quite as straightforward.

He didn’t want to go. He was absolutely adamant. He wanted to be with Hugo and stay home. He told me in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t go. I could see the worry on his face.

I didn’t want to insist, I felt sorry for him because to me, he’s so small and vulnerable. But I knew he needed to do this now for his own development and growth as an individual. No excuses. It would be good for him. He was acutely aware that Hugo had ‘done it’ already, which helped, but it still took quite a lot of coaxing to get him dressed and into the car on the day.

I had to resort to “Mummy will get in trouble if I don’t take you to school” tactics in the end when he wouldn’t budge. It was traumatic and stressful but at last though, he seemed to concede. I must admit I felt a bit evil (for want of a better word)… for ‘forcing’ him to go. All sorts of emotions were going through my mind. I was angry at the ‘system’ momentarily, for making me HAVE to take my child to school when all he wanted was to stay at home with Mummy and his twin brother.

He was reluctant to get out of the car. I was hoping and praying I wouldn’t have to take him in crying, that would’ve been the worst, but eventually he did get out and went into his classroom without any tears.

It was me who choked back tears.

Oscar not looking so sure.

Again I fretted all day but again, like Hugo, when I picked him up, Oscar was very happy, probably not AS happy as Hugo was, but he’d had a great day and I could see how chuffed he was with himself which made my heart melt. We did it! He too could go to school on his own now. Although he did say he wanted Hugo to go with him tomorrow!

I cannot express how delighted I am that both boys have achieved this big milestone in their little lives.

I’m also pleased with myself that I waited until now to do it. There was no rush and even though it wasn’t straight forward, I do believe they were ready. Had I done it when they weren’t ready, it could’ve caused them long term distress which I was not going to risk. No way.

Big boys now…. and I’m so very proud of them x


  1. What a lovely post! No wonder you were proud of them and no wonder they were proud of themselves. It’s a fantastic achievement for them. It sounds like you did exactly the right thing to wait until they were ready to send them to school alone.
    Thanks for linking with Loud ‘n’ Proud.

  2. mummydaddyme says

    What a lovely post and good on them for being so brave. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a twin as a comfort blanket and therefore so hard when doing it on their own. No wonder you were so proud of them. x

  3. This is terrific – you did so well and so did they. I think this was a real milestone for them (and you). So pleased it all worked out, and a really lovely blog post too.

  4. Fab post. My youngest is also 6 and in Year 2 – they do seem so grown up that you can forget they are still very little. Good for them though they sound like they are doing great! x

  5. pigeonpairandme says

    Brave little O and H! It must have been so hard for you too. I remember when I thought my son had lost his cuddly monkey, that he used to carry everywhere, I was terrified that he wouldn’t manage on his own. It must be doubly hard when it’s a twin, not a soft toy, that’s the companion. But they did it – hurray for them!

  6. That’s so amazing. My boys are not the same age, but they go to the same school and they are so used to it, we had a bit of a problem when last month my eldest was ill and the youngest had to go to school without him… And just like with your kids – the minute he got to school he was ok 🙂 So happy for you that your boys were so brave, and I can totally understand why you are so proud of them.

  7. I am quite lucky that all my kids have not made a fuss about going to school and mostly love it. Eliza was so desperate to start when her brother was there and she wasn’t that I had to drag her out crying. Sounds like you have turned a corner now :0)

  8. Well done boys! It must be really hard knowing how to manage these situations sometimes.

  9. I totally get this post. Mini although not a twin, hates going to school and the only thing that gets him there is Maxi., I am dreading next year when he moves to Senior school and Mini has a year without him. You are right to be really proud of him

  10. What a huge milestone. I have a twin sister and my parents always tried to put us in different classes so we had some independence from each other but I remember we were in the same reading group and always played with each other on the playground. I must ask my mother about the first time we went school without the other. I am not looking forward to my daughter starting school and trying not to cry at the school gates. Thank you for sharing #TheOrdinaryMoments

  11. Oh bless em! So cute in their photo’s. Brave boys for going it alone. I relate as my boys are close in age and I remember similar issues when one was unwell, it was always hard to send the other one in to school alone x

  12. Oh bless, I love the idea of your twin being like a security blanket. Your boys both did really well!

  13. Aw that’s so sweet that they were able to do it and enjoy their day. Definitely a good reason to feel proud of them!

  14. Ickle Pickle says

    Oh bless them both! I would be a wreck – I can’t imagine having twins. You must be so proud. Kaz x

  15. I really loved this story Carolynne, I’m so pleased for them and you that they did it but I’m even more pleased that you waited until you were ready as a unit. Society and ‘the system’ forces our children to grow up much quicker than they need to and it’s up to us to protect, nurture them and let them grow at their own pace.
    I love that this was your initial concern 🙂 xxx

  16. Oh I’m not surprised you were proud, I can imagine it was a really huge deal for them to go to school without the other when they are used to always having someone at their side. Big well done to them both!

  17. What a wonderful post, that must have been hard but what a great result. It must have been a really big deal for one to go to school without the other. Awesome, well done boys – and Mummy!

  18. Kim Styles says

    excellent result and you must be soo proud -they are great boys

  19. This is very good to hear that all is well. Congratulations on your boys milestone. Be more patient and thanks for sharing this.

  20. Judith Allen says

    I know I’m rather late to this, but thank you for sharing. I had one girl, now 27, with a December birthday, and one was quite enough. So much emotion in a little person. X 2 must be more than 2 x as hard.

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