Find family among your friends!

Unlike friends, siblings are companions one does not get to choose. Yet, the mutual bond of support and comfort between siblings is one that lasts a lifetime. Growing up with a sibling can teach a child a host of vital life skills. Sharing the attention of their parents, their living spaces and their toys is an indelible lesson in patience, co-operation and kindness. However, one-child families are on the rise in Indian metropolitan cities.While they may gain parental attention and more privileges, these single children lose out on the many life lessons one stands to gain while growing up with a sibling. This loss is not, however, something parents cannot make up for. Introducing your child to an environment with opportunities for peer interaction can help to a large extent. Day care centres and pre schools can help an only child develop social interaction and bonding skills by being part of a larger group.

At Ipsaa, we have observed that day care centers are perhaps the best simulators of living spaces with siblings. Children develop sibling-like bonds as they eat lunch, enroll in hobby classes and play together in crowds consisting of children of various age groups. The older children in the day care develop a sense of responsibility and caring as they often help the younger ones out with tasks like tying shoe laces, putting food on their plate or reaching out for the books and toys kept on shelves too high for the little ones.

Young children find it easier talking to older children than talking to adults which makes older children better and more effective role models for them. For instance, a five year old would feel encouraged to learn the alphabets and how to read when he or she sees an eight year old enjoying reading a story book. In fact, story books are a great way for children of different age groups to collectively have fun while simultaneously learning key vocabulary words, comprehension skills and core values presented in the stories.

As lifestyles evolve, we must make sure that the best parts of our childhood are not lost to our children. Let’s give them the best of both worlds!

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