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15 Essential Tips For Parenting An Only Child

When you hear the word only child, two things will come to your mind. INDEPENDENT and LONELY.

Families give love, comfort, care, and security to each member. Raising many children or even being an only child is not an easy thing to do. You will consider many aspects. In addition, having an only child is not different from other children; they are like the firstborn in the family. So, parenting only one kid means putting all your focus and attention to guide their development.

You will not expect to have only happy times with your little one because bad days will come too. Every child is unique; that’s why each child grows differently. Some kids find comfort in being alone that they will not find it lonely without any siblings or friends. And they can handle any unique situations that they may face in the future.

On the other hand, some will always look for a companion because they don’t want to be alone. They feel lonely and isolated, which may lead to failure.

The Only Child and Loneliness: What Parents Can Do

Parents play a vital role in the child’s development. They can do more things to help their child adapt to being an only child and avoid them suffering loneliness. Here are essential tips for parenting an only child. These tips will also help you be aware of some issues and challenges.

Consider these strategies:

1. Playdates are important.

Play is an essential part of the development of your child. An only child may find playing alone dull and lonely at times. Thus, you have to take the bull by the horn as a parent. It is significant for a child to interact with others, but some are hard to socialize. You can talk to your child’s educator and the parents of their classmates or friends about your concern. Other kids your child’s age can substantially help your kid come out of his comfort zone.


2. Avoid hovering.

Some children need alone time to grow beautifully. As a parent, you don’t need to do everything if you know your child can also do it. For instance, you don’t need to dress your 5-year-old child when she can dress herself or don’t tie her shoes when she can do it her own. Giving time to your child to grow alone can help them be an independent individual, which is a good thing. In this way, you will know your child’s capabilities in dealing with or solving their own challenges.

Also, if your child has some hesitations about their decisions, try not to jump in. Let them reason out their feelings. Let them feel pain or discomfort, for this is part of growing up. Thus, your child can get the best lesson in life out from the mistakes and experiences experienced.


3. Activities create social opportunities.

Engage your young child in activities that include other people like their peers. Creating a social life outside the virtual things would always be the best experience growing up. You can start at distinguishing what your kid likes to do or what activities they love to play. In that manner, you will know when and where to support them. They can do sports, enroll in an art or ballet class, or join a summer camp to have fun. It will also be a way for them to discover their talents while creating social opportunities.

4. Interact with your child to create good communication skills.

Communication will always be a great way to avoid loneliness or any conflicts. Start to have a meaningful conversation with your child and ask them about their day. Listen and respond to your child to feel comfortable expressing their true feelings. Remember that a good foundation starts with the parents or the people who first nurture them. You may also find a good communication book that will enhance their skills and build self-confidence to speak up in society.

Having good communication skills can help your child interact effectively with people. Some will grow a strong bond and friendship. As they grow older, many opportunities will surely come to them.


5. Avoid relying too heavily on digital devices.

Exposing your child to digital devices will put their health at risk and social skills. TV, tablets, video games, smartphones, and more can stunt your child’s social development. Digital things can surely entertain your kid, but too much screen time will affect them negatively. They will lack social skills and be more isolated.

You can still engage your child with technology because we know that we are in a modern era right now. However, it would be best if you put a limit on it. Many aspects of your child will be affected if you truly rely too heavily on digital devices. They may lose their sense of adventure, carelessness, imagination, social skills, and more.


6. Focus on self-confidence and self-esteem.

Parenting an only child is a big challenge to you as a parent. They are used to being alone, and some may find it hard to socialize. Boosting their self-confidence and self-esteem could be a great start to letting them come out of their comfort zone.

To help your child build self-confidence and self-esteem, let them do their way. Let them make decisions and take responsibility for their actions. You can be there for them but only as guidance or facilitator. You may read a good book also on how to build confidence in your child.

Embodying complete trust in yourself enables your child to gain many positive traits, such as compassion, resourcefulness, courage, and more. Kids can also work on a bigger picture.

7. Become friends with other parents that have children

Try to exert an effort to engage your child with the kids their age. Also, make friends with other parents with children and let the kids spend time together. Share experiences and ideas with the other parent towards raising a child. Let your kid explore and interact with other kids to grow more. Always include your child in fun, and don’t just isolate them inside your home.

Developing your child’s social skills will be good and can benefit them throughout their lives. In turn, tons of opportunities will surely come their way as they grow up.


8. Ignite passions.

We, parents, are the first teacher of our children, and we have a vast influence on their worldview. Let your kid explore outside the house. Engage the kid in activities that will unleash talents and creativity. You might never know if you will shelter them inside the house. It is another way to practice their social skills and meet new friends.

Moreover, let him pilot his life to have a sense of self and discover things they might be passionate about. The child will gain self-confidence and can freely express their thoughts and ideas throughout their lives.


9. Mirror healthy relationships.

Mirroring a healthy relationship will never be out of your list in raising an only child. The steady foundation always comes from the family. Even if your little one does not have siblings to help them develop social skills, there are multiple other options. Give enough love and security to your child that they will not feel any loneliness. It would help if you were a great model for your child to acquire their first positive trait. In that manner, only child will not be afraid to go out of their comfort zone and make friends.

10. Be the voice of reason.
An only child tends to become a perfectionist and always strives for approval. Only child wants to navigate their conflicts in their most excellent way. Every time they exert a poor performance and get bad grades, the disappointment in themselves will overflow. You must always listen and have a meaningful conversation with the kid. It doesn’t mean you can’t express your own disappointment, but you can try to talk it smoothly. It is not good to pile up on the frustration they already feel. Sometimes, you need to build them back up and encourage them to get it right next time.
11. Don’t buy into the hype.
Every child grows uniquely, and no one can dictate their future. So many misconceptions and stereotypes are spreading out on the struggles of the only child. There is much positive research that not all only child tends to be lonely as what everyone thinks. Other child excels more in school than the kids with siblings.
They are more social creatures, open to an enormous opportunity that awaits them. Don’t let others contaminate your minds, as a parent, about your only child because you will never know how they’ll grow in the future.
12. Give them chores to teach responsibility.
It’s easier to clean the whole house if you have an only child. You can do all work and messes without the necessity of letting your child interfere. That’s good to hear, but it is also great to teach them the chores at home to learn about responsibility. They will acquire practical skills such as washing the dishes properly, folding the laundry, and cleaning the house.
Early childhood is eager to receive rewards, so you can reward them for doing extra chores. In that way, they will learn that to get what they want; they will need to work and earn for it. It will be a positive trait they can embody as they grow up.
13. Don’t be their constant entertainment.
Children are constantly seeking time and attention from their parents—it would be great for the parents to give it to their child.
Only children are usually drawn to their parent’s attention because they don’t have siblings to play with. Remember that there will always be a limitation to everything, like balancing it.
For instance, you as a parent will not have to entertain your child, you have also work to do. This is because you will need time to do all those housework and your own work to finish. Additionally, you will require “me time” for yourself.
Parents may feel guilty about not playing with their kids, but it is also good to set reasonable expectations when entertaining them. You can say to your child that you will play with them for about 20 minutes, and after that, they will play another 20 minutes while you do your work.
Furthermore, you can engage your kid with their peers. It will be helpful for the onlies to enhance their social skills and not only to depend on you to be their playmates.
14. Set Realistic Expectations
Parents raising only one child tend to have all their dreams and hopes wrapped up in the child. Always know that it is suitable for a parent to set realistic expectations towards their child. Your child is not you, and they are their own person who also has their own dreams and hopes.
Not every child will acquire what the parents have. They have their gifts, talents, and capabilities that are way far from you. The good thing you can do is guide and help them to discover their abilities.
They should know that it is unreasonable to expect your child to become someone they don’t want to. Each child is special and unique. Only child can’t acquire all the dreams and ambitions a family of five can fulfill. There are activities they can do and can’t do.
Help and support your child to know what activities they excel in. You can encourage them in all they do, but you can’t set unattainable and unreasonable expectations.
15. Do Not Treat the Child Like a Fellow Adult in the Household.
A child will always be a child not until they reach adulthood. Having an only child will not be difficult for the parents to treat them as adults. Many children show maturity, usually in the ages of 8 or 9. They are already acting or doing things like an adult. However, the child must be treated as one because they are still a child.
According to, the brain’s prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until they reach adulthood. So, mommies and daddies should not expect their children to be adults because their development is incomplete. Allow them to be children because they can only be one once in a lifetime.
Families come in different sizes and shapes. Having an only child is not far from having many children. They are all children whom you can love and take care of. Sure it is lonely to be an only child, but so is having siblings. Kids can feel it if their parents and friends are not giving them enough attention. You must understand that your kid also needs socialization with kids their age.
There might be some disadvantages to raising an only child, but raising one also has advantages. It will only differ on how you shape and guide them as a parent.
Always take an opportunity to connect with the other parents who have children your child’s age. Let them explore and find places where they can play and socialize.
Positive Affirmation cards for kids

Are looking for another effective way to help your child build confidence and positivity?

As a parent myself, I know how important it is to help our kids build confidence and self-esteem from a young age. These cards that can easily be printed from home are designed to do just that – with positive messages and bright colors that are sure to catch your child’s eye. Whether you display them in your child’s bedroom or incorporate them into your daily routine, these cards are a simple and effective way to promote positivity and self-love. I hope that these affirmations bring joy, positivity, and inspiration into your child’s life. 

*These cards are available in french and English

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