Siblings' Influence on the Motor Competence of Preschoolers

Children (Basel). 2021 Mar 8;8(3):204. doi: 10.3390/children8030204.


The number of single-child families has been rising steadily in recent years, resulting in a childhood absent of sibling relationships. Being an only child has been shown to have a negative impact on physical fitness, somatic fitness, and motor development. In this study, we aimed to understand how living with and without siblings can impact the motor competence of children. One hundred and sixty-one children (87 boys, 74 girls) from 3.0 to 6.0 years of age (34 only children, 125 siblings) and with no known motor or cognitive disability were assessed using the Motor Competence Assessment (MCA). Their standardized results on the three MCA subscales (stability, locomotor, and manipulative) and total MCA were used to group them into high, average, and low motor competence groups. Motor competence percentile distribution of the sibling and only child group condition was compared using chi-square tests. Results showed a significative and positive association between the sibling condition and the distribution between the three MC groups (chi-square = 6.29; p = 0.043), showing that children in a household with siblings, independent of their age and sex, show a clear tendency for developing better motor competence.

Keywords: MCA; early childhood; household; motor performance; only child.