Why all parents should encourage healthy competition amongst their kids


Every parent is proud of their child and his or her achievements. All of us beam with pride and joy when we see our child succeed or thrive in their given endeavour, be it academics, crafts or sports. However, it is important that our children do not lose perspective and become overly competitive or in some cases, start to create a toxic environment where the beauty of competition is lost! Find out more about preschool in Singapore at https://ourfirststeps.com.sg/macpherson/.

In these cases, it is important for every parent to engender the need for healthy competition. When a child is given the right environment from adults to pursue their competitive drive in a safe, secured and positive environment, this can have profound benefits on their mental, physical and emotional development. Here are some great tips on how and why you should encourage your kids to compete with one another but also to manage their expectations on winning and losing and get the most out of their competitive endeavours, respecting both the rules of the competition as well as their peers.

It’s impossible to expect to always win

This is one of the most common roadblocks when it comes to children who are competitive, especially at the preschool or childcare level. In fact, many parents are guilty of this as well! Children who are new to the nature of competitive games and sports, be it chess or soccer, will eventually learn the taste of defeat. It is inevitable that despite being talented at something, its impossible that they do not eventually run into someone who can get the win over them.

Seeing our kids cry over a loss can be heartbreaking for many parents. However, it is important that we do not discredit our children’s emotions but recognize and help them deal with it in a mature and constructive way.

Here is the interesting thing; for many children, they actually have more to learn from a loss than a win. In fact, our kids learning how to lose graciously is perhaps one of the biggest steps forward they can have in their development into becoming young people in society. Teach your kids to take defeats and setbacks in their stride; evaluate them, learn from them, and come out of defeats with positivity and the mindset to improve rather than to take it negatively and allow a defeat to discourage them moving forward.

Feeling a little pressure can be good

Many of us are afraid to pile on the pressure on our kids, be it in sporting competition or academic pursuit. In 2020, the overwhelming consensus is that high stakes milestone exams do not seem to be the best types of assessments. These pressure cooker type scenarios have been said to be detrimental to our children’s development and education and largely, the Singapore Ministry of Education has removed year-end examinations for all primary 1 and primary 2 students.

However, this is not to say that all pressure is bad. By not putting any pressure on our kids at all, it can give them the idea that competition itself is meaningless and they will not ascribe any value to success or winning while being completely okay with losing. There is a type of pressure that is healthy and fun and as parents, we should learn to apply that sweet spot to our kids periodically.

For example, in classrooms, sometimes holding weekly simple spelling bees can give our children the motivation to put in more effort into expanding their vocabulary and working on their enunciation. Giving our little prizes like stationery and candy can also serve as emblems of our children’s success and motivate them to strive harder. It is important to keep these forms of competition light so that children do not become too discouraged at being outdone by their peers.

Being competitive helps to build one’s self-esteem

Every child, while growing up and being educated in our schools, learns to build their own sense of self, character and self-esteem. Through healthy competition, they start to learn more about themselves and their own unique strengths and weaknesses, learning to overcome their initial fears and doubts. They also learn, through the trials of winning and losing, not to become too self-entitled. Our children become able to get over themselves and their egos and learn to take their own emotional highs and lows in stride.

By putting in concerted effort into their studies and other competitive endeavours, our children learn the link between discipline, effort and consistency and getting gratification and results. Having them involved in healthy competition allows them to see the difference between their performances in one competition to another and how their level of preparation can affect their performance. Much like in life, the whole idea of healthy competition is to engender a solid work ethic and to not just teach our children to challenge the competition, but ultimately to challenge themselves to achieve greater heights.

It is our job as parents to prepare ourselves for our children’s development into the world. Whether their endeavours result in tears, anger or joy, ultimately these instances are crucial to our child’s development into young adults and as parents, we should stay with them every step of the way.


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