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How Young Is Too Young For Competition?

Recent baby races have me wondering if pitting our children against each other is a healthy decision.

The cities of Maple Grove and Lakeville recently held festivals. ; in Maple Grove, it was . Each town hosted a or as part of the festivities.

The Star Tribune recently covered a baby race during Kaposia Days in South St. Paul.

Let's be honest, a crowd of crawling babies is pretty much the cutest thing you'll ever see. So it's understandable why parents show up and why photographers click away. But is it healthy?

I seriously doubt the babies are getting anything from it, except maybe a ribbon to nibble on. So clearly the competition is for the parents. A win brings bragging rights, and then there's all that adorableness (Yes, that's actually a word.).

I fear baby competitions are part of a more pervasive trend of parents comparing milestones to prove their offspring are superior to others. An article on Parents.com says there are no report cards before school, so parents need to know if their children are reaching benchmarks when they should. The story also suggests that parents may compare their children to others out of fear: A child who is behind the curve could have a developmental disorder, such as autism.

If I had a child, I doubt I'd bring him or her to a crawling race. Someone would have to convince me that there was something my baby would get out of the experience, beyond scraped knees.

That's my opinion, but what do you think? Are baby or toddler competitions healthy? Explain your vote in the comments below.

Anna Schier July 20, 2012 at 06:10 AM
I don't necessarily think that they're healthy or unhealthy. If the children competing are infants or young toddlers, they likely have no conception that a competition is even happening. However, I do think that for older toddlers and preschoolers, it's better not to encourage fierce competition. It seems like putting your children in competitive situations at a young age might cultivate anxiety or an unhealthy propensity for defeating others.
Diana Neameyer July 20, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Seriously??? It's not even worth the time to vote. It's a cute, fun event and it's not the toddlers who have anxiety, it's the parents. Unfortunately, it's too late to teach or train the parents to back off. Without healthy, good spirited competition we may as well just sit like a bump on a log and watch the world go by. Good competition makes us put forth that extra effort and strive to be the best we can be. Diana Neameyer

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