“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms”
Parenting is a subtle art of giving children creative freedom to explore, discover and learn without subjecting them to a competitive trap that actually limits their creativity for more reasons than one. The moment we talk of Competition, at least two words logically follow – Win or Lose! Competition by itself is quite a healthy concept but certainly not an effective tool when it comes to motivating Preschool children to learn.
Here is how competition can be detrimental to a child’s learning and development in early childhood.
- Play and not competition is the true form of expression of potential: Parenting is not about expecting children to be in the limelight by winning a competition or two. It is about nurturing the child’s naturally immense desire to learn by providing an environment that satiates the quest for learning in a joyful and relaxed way. Only then, human potential in child finds true expression. Parenting at this age is not about making them winners in competitions but about providing age appropriate experiential tools that stimulates their imaginative spirit, nurtures curiosity and instinct to seek solutions thereby prepare them to become lifelong learners.
- Fear of losing and its consequences: The spirit of winning naturally brings along a fear of losing which discourages exploration and is detrimental to child’s seamless quest for learning. When children lose, it hurts self-esteem and self-confidence. It then deters them from a spirit of participation. Without fear of losing in competition, children feel safe to experiment, take risks, express feelings, ask questions and keep growing. Emotional needs should take priority for learning to be effective especially during this phase as it gives them freedom to learn without any stress whatsoever to be a winner.
- Behavioral problems: Competition breeds comparison and Comparisons are odious – Be it with peers or siblings. They tend to give way to negative emotions and inferiority complex leading to behavioral problems that actually surface in serious forms as they grow up. This is because in competition when children win, as parents we cheer and celebrate but when they lose we become despondent and unhappy. This will have a discouraging impact on child’s vulnerable mind.
- Unfair grouping leads to stress: Also, in competitions we are grouping and comparing children who are just evolving into a persona and each as a unique master piece and no two children are alike and therefore grouping is unfair during this phase. This unfit comparison puts excessive pressure on the children and curbs their imaginative enthusiasm. As parents, we need to give them the freedom to evolve, make mistakes along the way and find their own best way forward.
- Happiness Vs Success: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education “- Aristotle. Children should be made aware that Success is not the reason for lasting happiness but being happy is true success. In competition, the formative mind is pressured to be successful all the time and in the process, children lose out on much valuable learning about the wonderful world around such as Nature, Animals, birds and works of Art all of which satiate the soul and make them happy, which is true success.
- Impact on Life skills: Learning outcomes have to focus on a holistic development of the child in social, emotional, physical, emotional ways rather than becoming winners in competitions. This will prepare them to face challenges of life going forward. Competition can actually hurt interpersonal relations due to intense desire to pitch against one another and win in whatever way leading to unhealthy competition and bad practices. Team spirit also suffers because child looks at everyone as a competitor leading to unruly and aggressive interpersonal relations and team spirit.
Kreedo’s revolutionary Early Childhood Solutions clearly emphasize an environment where children are allowed to experience, explore and discover in a stimulating environment with a clear freedom to please themselves and none else. This would be the most effective formula for mental and emotional well-being of the child.