Your presence as a parent is a part of what moulds your children into who they are. Your actions and language have a significant impact on your children as they grow and develop. This influence can be very positive, especially when you influence them because you love them and wish the best for them. Seeing overnight success stories and talent programs in the media also impacts children. The programs can drive an obsession with winning. Fear of losing can also result in the child pushing themselves to extreme limits. Early childhood education success must not be about winning all the time. It should be about growth, development, and learning how to bounce back after failure.
How to Know If Your Child is Competitive
Although competitiveness comes in various forms, here are the most common characteristics of competitive children.
- The child tends to be negatively critical about themselves.
- The child will tell anyone willing to listen about how brilliant they are at something.
- They will often cheat to ensure they win.
- The child burns themself out while trying to be the best.
- They are rude to their peers or competitors.
- They have mood swings when they fail, e.g., they shout or sulk.
How to Support Your Competitive Child
● Understand Your Child
Your child should be able to find their way without being pushed to become who they are not. Your child has their own life from the time they are in daycare, and it includes aspirations, likes, and dislikes separate from yours. Understanding your child’s desires and feelings and not forcing your child to do what you like becomes important when supporting your child. Let them know that you will be there to encourage them when they fall and guide them when they seek help finding their way.
● Help Your Child Prioritize What They Need to Achieve
Make sure your child does not sign up for more than they can handle. Trying to be an overachiever can quickly wear a child out. They need to learn to prioritize their tasks appropriately, which can help them take pride in their successes.
● Teach the Child to Lose Gracefully
No one likes to lose, but showing your children unconditional love and support when they lose helps them learn to lose gracefully. They must understand that trying is more important than winning. Humility and grace can become your child’s priority when faced with failure.
● Provide Positive Reinforcement and Appreciate Your Child
Appreciate your child’s strengths and motivate them to work on themselves by improving their weaknesses. Let them understand that their efforts are more important than the results. If they connect their success with doing their personal best, outshining others won’t matter as much. Whether a child wins or loses, help them to learn and grow from their experiences.
● Encourage the Child to Widen Their Horizons
The natural part of the life of a competitive child is facing challenges. Let the child try new challenges to explore areas that test them in different ways. Competitive children are often afraid to take up new tasks because of the fear of failure. Encouraging them to explore new things can help them understand that trying is the only way to find their natural talents. Often the child will thrive in overcoming and taking on these challenges.
As you support your child, it’s important to strike a balance so that the child does not become a self-defeating perfectionist or overly discouraged by competition. You must be loving and kind and set the right standards so your child can blossom into an achiever. Being an achiever can help your child respect healthy competition and know when to walk away. Teachers at early childcare centre Mayfield can also help instil these skills and beliefs.