February 21st, 2022
Only children sometimes have a reputation for being selfish and temperamental, but that's not necessarily justified. It depends on temperament and the education they receive. Only children have the advantage of having their parent's undivided attention, but like all toddlers, they must learn to share, compromise, and get along well with others.
The benefits of being an only child
Being an only child has its advantages. Parents have more time, energy, and financial resources to devote to their child and at their couples. An only child usually grows up in a calmer environment, because a tiny one alone often plays more peacefully and has no one to argue with. Some studies report that only children generally have good self-esteem and good self-confidence, in part because they receive a lot of positive attention from their parents. They would also be more motivated to school, would have a more elaborate vocabulary, and would show greater maturity because they are often alone with adults.
How to help an only child develop social skills?
Having a sibling indeed forces toddlers to make compromises. For example, children learn to take turns as well as share toys and parental attention. However, an only child can do this learning differently.
If your child attends daycare, he develops his social skills every day. However, this must continue when he is at home because your child must also learn to compromise on his own territory. Sharing daycare toys and agreeing to lend your own are two very different things.
Before 2 1/2 years old, don't worry if your little one has trouble sharing. This is part of normal child development. It is rather between 3 and 4 years that you must be more vigilant.
To help your child learn to share, regularly invite cousins or friends over to have fun with them. It also helps your little one learns to get along well with others, take turns and settle small quibbles. Also encourage your child to give toys they no longer play with to a younger child or to an organization to get them used to share. The only child has permission to wear any clothes like baby girl dresses by his or her choice.
Is it true that an only child is less sociable?
Being sociable or solitary has more to do with temperament than being an only child. In general, children enjoy the company of others. However, an only child may have less developed social skills. For example, he may find it difficult to share, compromise, or resolve conflicts because he has not learned how to do so in his family environment. Also, he may want things to go his way. Thus, an only child can sometimes be perceived as less lovable by others. This does not mean that he is not sociable, but rather that he must learn to improve his social skills. However, it is important to mention that all children, unique or not, must learn to get along well with others.
Promote the autonomy of the only child
Some parents tend to do chores for their child. This is the case for some parents of only children who have more time because they do not have to take care of other toddlers. Even if their intention is good, it is a practice to be avoided. Doing the chores for your child leads him to believe that he is not capable of doing them or that he does not need to do them.
To help your toddler develop independence and self-esteem, let him do things on his own. For example, give him age-appropriate responsibilities, such as tidying up his toys and putting his or her own baby swimsuits in his drawers. Also, avoid overprotecting him because your toddler needs to take certain risks to learn. It is also for this reason that he lets go of your hand to take his first steps and that he managed, for example, to climb higher and higher in the play structures at the park.
Don't too much make it
Having only one child also means having more time to take care of them. While this has benefits, avoid overdoing it by offering non-stop activities. Being always busy and very stimulated can cause fatigue and disinterest in certain activities.
Even if you have time to play with your child, make sure they have free playtime as well. Encourage him to play alone because it's as important as sharing playtime with you. When he has fun alone and decides what and how he plays, your toddler develops his autonomy, his resourcefulness, his imagination, and his ability to take initiative. It also allows him to discover his preferences and learn on his own.
Some parents also tend to watch their toddler very closely so that he succeeds in everything. Since they only have one child, they expect a lot from him. Be careful, however, not to have too high demands for your child. And don't project your dreams onto him. He could then feel some performance pressure and become anxious because he is afraid of disappointing you. Help him be himself. Stay tuned when your little one talks about their tastes and what interests them. Don't try to influence him; respect their preferences. For example, if your child likes dancing and you don't, that's fine: allow him to have his own experiences.
The need for limits
All children, whether single or siblings need boundaries. Although these can be frustrating for a toddler, they help to reassure him and give him a sense of security. So, give your child clear boundaries so he knows what you expect of him. Likewise, do not give in to all of his demands. If you do, you risk turning him into a child who can't stand any refusal. And who develops a low tolerance for frustration.
It is also important to allow the only child to live with small disappointments. Toddlers who have a sibling are often more used to it. For example, they may be disappointed that they don't have the toy their sister is playing with or that they can't go to the park to play right away because then their little brother is taking a nap. This is not the case with an only child. However, disappointment is a healthy emotion that your child needs to learn to deal with. If you always try to save sat sensitivity and not help him to live and manage disappointments, your toddler risk finds it difficult to later to bear negative feelings or too intense.
Also, your family life should not be centered around your child's wishes. Remember that adult decisions don't concern him. For example, it's not up to your child to decide when to go shopping or who will come to your house for dinner on Saturday evening. Of course, you can consider his opinions, but don't always let him choose the activities you will do as a family. This is how he learns to consider the desires and opinions of others.
He asks for a little brother
Briefly explain your choice with simple words, for example: "Dad and Mom want to have an only child. On the other hand, try to understand the need that hides behind this wish. If he's fascinated by babies, you might get to know a baby close to you more. If he wants a playmate, you could invite him more often. Other children at home.
Playing regularly with friends or cousins helps the only child learn to share and compromise.
It is better to avoid doing things in the place of an only child and to occupy him constantly so that he can develop his autonomy and his resourcefulness.
Like all toddlers, an only child needs limits and must learn to manage small frustrations. Therefore, one must not give in to all his demands or center the life of the family on his desires.
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