There are a few stigmas when it comes to being or having an only child.
They are/will be lonely.
They are/will be spoilt.
They are/will be selfish.
But these negative stereotypes aren’t reserved just for an only child. Any child can be lonely, spoilt and selfish or even have imaginary friends. I know a lot of it comes down to parenting, and we all do that differently.
And while there are great reasons to have any number of children, there are also some disadvantages. So here are 15+ reasons why having an only child is a good idea and the best decision you will make.
Financial reasons to have one child
You can probably afford to send one child to a private school.
It’s much easier to be able to afford to send one child to a private school, whereas it might be a stretch to afford to send two or more kids to a private school. Even if private high school education is not on the cards for you and your family, schools have different technology requirements, from laptops to tablets which can start adding up fast.
You can afford to have more frequent holidays.
Flights and accommodation for three people are much cheaper than four or more people. It also costs less frequent flyer points for three people to travel in business or first class. When you add international travel, theme parks and other experiences, it can really add up.
You can afford to do more expensive hobbies.
With one child, they are able to pick almost any hobby they like. Whether it’s something that requires a lot of travel, expensive equipment or a huge time commitment. It also means there is money left in our budget for my husband and me to take up more expensive hobbies or social activities.
The cost of all the food.
In the beginning, it doesn’t cost much to feed a child, but as they grow they eat more. And even as a toddler, it can feel like they are eating you out of house and home. And we’ve all heard stories about how much teenage boys eat! Special dietary requirements can often add to the grocery bill too.
This also goes for take-away foods, restaurants and snacking away from home. You probably won’t get change out of $20 when you stop for ice cream. Likewise, you might be less likely to take the clan out for a meal at a restaurant.
The costs to buy Christmas and birthday presents.
More children = more birthday + Christmas presents to buy. And we all know they can be expensive at the best of times. Kids are wanting more expensive gifts these days. And with many kids, there can be significant differences in their interests. Meaning that not many gifts will be willingly shared.
You can still focus on your career.
Getting the timing right in your life can be tough at the best of times. Throw career goals into the mix, which could quite well be your biggest challenge. Women are often behind on retirement savings due to taking leave for having children, some only returning to the workforce when their children start primary school. Plus, parents of only children are more likely to both work full time, providing further financial stability.
You don’t need to upgrade your car.
More children often requires a bigger car. Not only for the number of seats, but it may also limit the amount of stuff you can fit in your car. If you like to go camping or on road trips, you’ll more than likely need a trailer to fit everything you need. And as your child grows up, you may be more inclined to buy a more expensive car.
Organisational reasons to have one child.
You will probably have more free time.
With one child, you’ll probably have more free time. Or if they do several extracurricular activities, you will have just as much time as anyone else with any number of kids!
You only need to get one kid ready in the morning for school.
I don’t know about you, but I have enough trouble dragging myself out of bed on dreary days, let alone getting anyone else organised. Likewise, you only need to get breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks ready for an extra person each day.
I mentioned the cost of all the food it takes to feed a large family unit. But it also takes time to prepare food for a larger family size. Now, my little girl isn’t at school yet, but I am already dreading making school lunches for the next 13 years.
You only have one extra person’s washing.
It might not seem like a lot, but each additional person can add quite a bit more washing to your laundry basket. And it’s not just clothes. It’s towels and bedding too. Plus, add in any extracurricular activities and uniforms. You’ve got your own version of Mount Everest right there in your laundry!
It’s easy to find a babysitter for one child.
Need someone to look after your child for a few hours or overnight? Easy. Two of your children, I guess that’s doable too. But finding someone to look after lots of kids at once can be a real struggle. I’ve got close friends that need to organise somewhere different for each of their kids just so they can have a date night or attend social events. No thanks!
Physical and mental reasons to have one child
You only go through labour once.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being pregnant. And I was lucky and didn’t have much morning sickness. But having one child means I only experienced pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding once. And everything else that comes with raising a child: sleepless nights, toilet training and fussy eating habits.
The other upside to this (for me anyway) is that I also only experienced infertility, traumatic birth and postnatal depression once. So sometimes it isn’t a conscious decision to be a one-child family.
And at week 39, I had an explosion of stretch marks so I am also pleased to say that I don’t foresee getting any more stretch marks in the future!
There is only one child to bathe and put to bed.
The mental exertion often required to get my daughter into the bath and more often, out of the bath is enormous. And lately, bed time is the same. With bedtime being extended up to 2.5 hours after it should be, I am exhausted and just want to go to bed myself.
You can be out late at night and only deal with one tired child.
Wrangling one overtired and grumpy child, not fun but totally doable. But if you’ve got more than one child to tend to in a situation like this, it’s probably that your kid’s schedule takes priority.
Benefits for the child of being an only child
There is no one to compete with.
My daughter doesn’t have to compete with any siblings for extra attention and there is no sibling rivalry. There is also no one else to compete with when it comes to grades or sports. And it also means as a parent I’m not comparing my daughter to anyone else. And there is no need to resolve sibling conflict.
There is a favourite.
I’m pretty sure most parents have a favourite. But whether that’s an all-time favourite or different favourites for different things is debatable. But I can say hands down, that I have a favourite.
You have a close relationship with both of your parents
As an only child, it’s much easier to get one-on-one time with each parent which helps in creating stronger bonds. But this can often extend further to grandparents, aunts and uncles. And because my daughter and I spend so much time together we do have that great relationship. We have in-jokes. We know what each other likes and dislikes. We go on little adventures together. You could even say we are best friends.My daughter also has a great relationship with other family members like her grandparents.
You can have friends over more often.
You can have friends over more often. Firstly, there is enough room in the car for passengers. Secondly, there is enough space in the house for more people. And as I mentioned earlier, more free time. Plus, there are perks of being friends with an only child.
At the end of the day, this is just a different perspective of what an ideal family is and it’s the best thing we have done for a more balanced life with less stress. And less stress is always a good thing.