You’ve had your first baby. Your life is full of the delight and challenges that come with being a parent. Now you may be wondering whether you should grow your family or one child is enough. How do you make that decision? Time is often the best ally you have when it comes to this important decision. After all, you and your family need to make the decision that is best suited for you. Often, we fall prey to the expectations of society or the people around us that we forget one important factor: society doesn’t live with your family, you do!
Whether you decide to stay with one child or try to conceive another one, you should consider the advantages of both decisions. In this article, I am going to cover the benefits of both having one child and multiple children. I hope that by the end of this article, you will have received positive information that will help you decide what is best for you and your family.
The benefits of staying with one child
- Less financial pressure – Here’s the honest truth: bringing up one child is cheaper than having multiple children. As a parent, you only have to worry about one child’s education, leisure and sport activities, health, etc… This way, you will be able to focus on enjoying your child with less stress. Families with more than one child often juggle more than one job to be able to pay the bills or provide for their children, unless they are well established financially.
- Focused time – Your child gets all your attention and time. This goes a long way in helping you meet your child’s emotional needs. There are more opportunities to connect with your child at a deeper level.
- Feeling relaxed – With only one child, you will not be wishing that you could grow three extra pairs of hands or that you could morph into an octopus in order to juggle all the demands that multiple children bring. On the contrary, you are able to sit down with your child to play, colour, chat or watch a movie with your feet propped up and a refreshing beverage in one hand. All the while breathing deeply the contentment of a peaceful home.
- Less noise – With one child, you don’t have to worry about sibling rivalry. Your home is free from the shouting, yelling and shrieking typical of when two or more children are fighting over the same toy. Your home is quiet and calm.
- More time for yourself – You have more time on your hands to do the things that feed your soul, whether it’s a relaxed, uninterrupted bubble bath, a hobby, or spending an hour reading a good novel.
- Babysitting is easier – Let’s face it, babysitting one child is much more appealing than babysitting three or four children. With one child, it will be much easier to find a babysitter than for a family of multiple children. You and your partner can go on more regular dates which deepens your love and strengthens your relationship.
- Faster development – An only child will often be in adult company furthering your child’s development to a deeper, more mature level than that of a bigger family. Your child may be able to relate to adults better thus engaging in conversations beyond their years.
- Secure identity – As an only child, your offspring will not have to grow up feeling inferior or compared to his/her siblings which is likely to happen in families with more than one child. Your only child will be more likely to grow up feeling secure about who he/she is as a person and confident about your love for him/her.
- Independent play – Your child will quickly learn to play alone. The skill of being comfortable in your own company is a valuable life skill that many people only learn in their adult years. Your child will know how to be alone without necessarily feeling lonely.
The benefits of having more than one child
- Parenting isn’t as overwhelming the second time round as the first – By the time you have your second child, you know what to expect in terms of pregnancy, including the birthing process. Granted, your pregnancy and birth will be different but you will know how you felt about being pregnant, how much time you need to organize the nursery, and more generally you will have acquired the know-how of how to deal with a newborn baby.
- Hand-me-downs – Your second baby gets the outgrown clothes and toys from your first child more so if they share the same gender. You will also pass on the cot, pram, car seat, high chair, etc… This will allow you to make huge savings. If you are like me and love shopping, you will feel the need to buy your new baby something new. Of course, you should get your baby something you bought precisely for him/her, but you spend less getting ready for the arrival of your second baby.
- Sibling adoration – I will never forget how proud my eldest child was when we had our second baby. To this day, I have not seen a prouder, more protective, and devoted sibling. To your child, their sibling becomes their world. They become best friends, content to stay at home and play with each other.
- Rivalry – How can rivalry be a benefit? In the midst of sibling rivalry, your children are learning valuable lessons. These lessons include sharing, boundaries, respect, self-awareness and empathy, cooperation and teamwork. Our children regularly fight with each other. With each disagreement, they learn that their parents are there to help but also expect them to sort out their own fights. This is an opportunity to teach your children to listen carefully to what their sibling has to say, to take another person’s perspective into consideration, to care for another person’s needs and demands, and help them work on understanding each other. Yes, this will be a lifelong process but by supporting your children to get through it together, you are encouraging them towards good social life skills which will be useful later on in life.
- Parents have more free time – Hurray! I found my eldest child seemed to have a need for attention the size of a black hole. No matter how much attention I gave him, he wanted more. When we had our second and third children, I could just let them play together while I sat nearby watching or attending to other family duties. By having more children, I got a small break. Children play beautifully with each other, occupying time and imagination for hours on end.
- The older children teach the younger ones – The older sibling will teach the younger ones which further validates them. Your older child will also learn to be more patient and understanding. Your younger child will experience the support and wisdom of the older child, learning from him/her. All of this further deepens their bond.
- Faster development – In some areas, your younger child will develop faster than your first may have. This is because they are constantly stimulated, prompted and taught by their older sibling. For example, my middle child is more imaginative in play than my eldest was at the same age. Children learn from each other as much as learning from their parents.
- Teamwork – Your children learn to cooperate when it comes to doing their chores. Instead of working not heir own, they learn that they can get more done if they work together. Children also learn to play team sports together, for example, football, cricket, basketball, hockey, etc… Children also learn strategies from games such as water fights. Playing with each other becomes a collaborative activity, whereby each child has a role to play to make the game work.
- Increased affection – You get double the hugs and kisses from your children. You can sandwich yourself between your children while you read them a bedtime story, colour in, or play. You have double the chitter chatter of the daily events, stories and dreams.
Love is the heart of a family
Whether you have one child, two or more, love is the heart of your family. Love keeps your family connected. Changes in circumstances can affect our life on a daily basis, bearing consequences on the plans and dreams we had for our future and our family. However, love is what turns those circumstances into opportunities to grow and connect deeply with each other. The best gift that any person can give or receive is the gift of love. It doesn’t matter how many children you have or whether or not your child/ren get their heart’s desires. What matters is that they are loved unconditionally. The love you have as a parent is one of the deepest forms of love you may ever experience. A love that goes uncontested. This is the ultimate shaper of your child’s life and destiny. Your love is the best gift for your child.