Only Child Syndrome


Oh the joys of sibling-hood. Kids fight over play-doh, toys, clothes, friends, and even mom and dad’s time. There are very few stages in life that siblings don’t argue over things they don’t want to share. I suspect that parents who claim their children share beautifully all the time are either lying or are too busy on Facebook to notice the screams.

So if parents of multiple children struggle with this, what about parents of kids who don’t have siblings? Learning to share can be a tough transition for children who don’t typically have to. This issue becomes especially apperant when starting daycare or school because your child has to learn to play well (and share well) with upwards of 10 other children. Here are some helpful activities to help young children with their sharing skills:

Board Games: Playing board games as a family can be a great bonding experience. It’s also a fun way to get out of the habit of loafing in front of the TV after dinner. Playing board games is a straight forward way to teach children they need to wait their turn and that it’s unneccesary to ‘win’ at everything. Starting off with games that require turn taking but don’t have actual ‘winners’ is a great place to start.

Soccer/Basketball: Baseball can be a little tough for little ones and requires a lot of room. However, you can get a cheap pop-up soccer net or basketball hoop for relatively little with a really big payoff! Not only will playing sports as a family peak their interest in being active; but it will also give you an opportunity to take turns as a family. Your child may be too young to understand the rules of the sport. At first it is more important to teach them to share the ball. BONUS: The extra energy burn may lead to an earlier night- and therefor earlier access to Pinot Noir.

TV Time: In many families, the youngest child gets to pick what to watch when watching a TV together. By giving other family members ‘turns’ to choose on different evenings, you can teach your children that they can not always be in control and that it is important to respect other peoples opinions and choices.

The Toy Debate: There is a debate among parents if children should be forced to share their toys when they have friends or family over. Everyone has special things that they would prefer other people not to mess with, children are no different. An easy way to negate the issue is to have your child put their special toys in a ‘safe’ spot until the guest has left. Keep in mind, your child probably has a favorite toy in the school toy-box;so it is still important to work with them on the importance of sharing these items.

Remember, this is something all children struggle with; and ‘Only Child Syndrome’ is usually only something people who don’t have children say.