It’s Not A Competition!

As I dropped the kids off in front of the school and they exited the vehicle loaded down with their big-kid backpacks, I called out the window to them, “Just walk, it’s not a competition!.”

They obediently walked toward the front door of the school–for about two steps–and then the race was on to be the first one to get there.

The most important thing to them is to be first–or at least to beat their sibling.

Almost everything they do seems to be a competition: Be the first to get in the car. Be the first to get out of the car. Be the first to fasten their seat belt. Be the first to unfasten their seat belt!

Get the first bath. Get the first drink. Read my book first.

“I can run faster than you,” she taunts.

“I can ride my bike farther than you,” he challenges.

“Let’s have a scooter race,” and off they go down the block and back. Whoever returns first asks me, “Who won?” so that I will announce their name as the winner.

They can turn almost any activity into an opportunity to throw down the gauntlet.

But, sometimes these friendly competitions take a more perverse form. They think they win by making the other one look bad.

It’s called tattling.

“Kaleb won’t let me go in his room,” she discloses.

“Kenzie laughed at me,” “he divulges.

“Kenzie is teasing the dog!” “Kaleb is picking his nose!”

Yet, there are some things that are not so competitive. Like being the first one to go to bed at night. No one wants to win that contest.

How about being first to get their homework done? No contest there, either.

Yet, competition is not always a bad thing. Sometimes parents can use competition to their advantage.

“Let’s see who can have the cleanest room. The first one to pick up all the stuff in their room wins! On your mark, get set, GO…”

Think it’s not a competition? Sure it is!

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