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Parenting Tip of the Day: Mar. 21

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As toddlers get older, a natural competitiveness sets in. What should you do if your child wants to beat every other kid on the block all the time, at every game?

“When a three-year-old wants to be the fastest kid in the world, he simply imagines that he is,” psychologist Susan Engel told Parents.com. “A five-year-old realizes it’s not good enough just to think he’s the fastest — now he’s got to prove it.”

Related: Adventureless Kids Aren’t Kids

Child experts say it’s best to avoid putting kids this age — five — in situations that stir up too much competitiveness. Although they like playing games with rules, kids are not quite old enough to deal with losing. “When there’s a classroom birthday party, for example, kids are miserable if they’re left without a seat during a game of musical chairs,” veteran teacher Vivian Gussin Paley, author of “You Can’t Say You Can’t Play,” told Parents.com.

“It’s also important to be a good role model,” notes writer Karen Levine in Parents.com. “Listen to yourself when you talk about your accomplishments, and pay attention to whether you tend to compare yourself with others, even if unfavorably. Ideally, your child will learn to focus on her own achievements — rather than outshining someone else.”

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