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Engage your kids In healthy competitions

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Healthy competition should encourage engagement, avert mediocrity, breed excellence and cultivate cooperation, says Founder of MomsAreCaring Foundation, Mercy Christian. Children should be engaged in healthy competition as long as it prepares them for the realities of the world.

“Engaging your children in competition is a good way to expose them to become confident and outspoken too. It brings out the uniqueness in them and also teaches them critical thinking and teamwork.”

On how early children can be involved in competitions, Christian said that it differs based on their readiness, “it doesn’t have anything to do with their age but starting them on time can help them master a task quickly. The bottom line is that you watch what your children like doing all the time so you can tell where they would belong in a competition.

“My eldest son is a typical example of what I’m talking about. I observed that he doesn’t really like march past after convincing him to be part of it even though it was my favourite activity. I think he is still figuring out which competition to fit into. It’s just a matter of time and I do my best to affirm him that he can be any great thing he wants to become through competition of his choice. However, that is my own perspective.”

The motherhood and childcare counsellor noted that parents should ensure that competitions give their children a sense of competence and that failure and error-making are very necessary; they are part of a learning process.

“I expect parents to let their children know the rules for a healthy competition like controlling their emotions and composing themselves with the right attitude in order to avoid withdrawing the child from the competition if he or she violates the rules.

“Children should also note that competition teaches them teamwork, and equips them with the tools they need to develop relationships, form partnerships and work together to solve problems. However, the outcome of any competition shouldn’t give the other participants any reason to quit.

“I believe winning comes in turns and if you must win, you must keep improving until you achieve a desired result.”

On how parents can ensure that grudge, envy, don’t develop during the course of contests, Christian stressed that in some cases, competition may breed grudges and envy but it is the parents’ duty to let their children know that it’s okay to lose out in the competition but that doesn’t mean they are losers. It’s okay to feel sad after the competition didn’t turn out in their favour, but it will help them achieve a great lesson from the participation.

“There should be no room for grudge or envy during and after the competition as it will result in toxic relationship with the other contestants. Children should know that competition is a learning process, preparing them for vital success in the future.

She added: “I expect children to learn to be risk-takers and persistent. They should also learn to be resilient and not easily discouraged by whatever means. Parents should also see that competition is not all about winning. It’s about building self-motivation and self-esteem. There are a lot of things children will learn from competing so they as parents shouldn’t shelter them from such. Neither should they be afraid of what the end result will look like.

“Let your children participate and explore in their best interest and make you and the society proud in their own unique way.”


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