While socializing with you is important for your only child, it is also important to learn social skills by interacting with other children. Children learn a great deal from each other, so it is important to introduce your only child to other children, at a young age and throughout childhood until they make their own friends.
Here are a few tips on how you can enhance their social experiences and facilitate the development of social and emotional skills in only children.
*Involve your only child in group classes like gymnastics, karate, or dance. Team sports are also beneficial for only children so soccer or something similar is a great idea. These activities not only encourage a child to get involved with a group, but they must interact with other kids, which will help prevent or overcome shyness and build self-confidence.
*Be active in Introducing your child to other only children. They will relate to each other in a special way, since they share the experience of being the only child in their families.
*If your child has cousins who are close to her age, have the children play together often and work hard to emphasize the importance of family. A close cousin can act in the same way as a sibling: as a close friend or role model.
*Create a sibling-like environment for your children. Having close family friends who have children is another way to socialize children. Remember your Auntie Karen or Uncle Barry that you later found out you weren’t related to? Yes, like that.
*For older children, discuss and help your child understand the importance of spending time with other children.
* For younger children, get involved in playgroups or hold a party and invite neighborhood children the same age as your child. Use these opportunities to emphasize the importance of sharing and other social skills.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that research is now showing that “apparent” deficiencies of social skills in young children will generally disappear by teenage years, because of the exposure to being schooled and playing with, other children. This is obviously different for children being home-schooled, so more attention should be given to socializing home schooled only children.
So, while it is important to be mindful of setting a stage for social interaction, you really don’t need to make fertility decisions based on that concern. There is plenty you can do to ensure a healthy developmental start!