My daughter is currently captivated with games. Memory, bingo and “Connect Four” are her favorites. The other day she lost two times in a row to me. She started talking about how I was the winner and she was the loser. To say the least, she was frustrated and not happy about losing. However, after talking about how losing is not the end of the world, she was ready to play another round. She won once and lost once. When she lost, she even said,”good job, Mom!” I was glad she was being a good sport about it. Here are some tips on teaching your children to lose….gracefully.
Don’t Get Angry
I don’t believe you can tell a child how to feel. It’s okay to be upset. However, after losing, it’s not okay for a child to kick, throw or have a temper tantrum. “That’s not fair” or other rants are not appropriate either.
Congratulate the Winner
Congratulating the winner is an important part of losing. It shows humility and good sportsmanship. Saying “Good game” or “congratulations” is a simple way to acknowledge a job well done.
Prepare your Child for Competition
If you are playing a game like checkers or connect four, it’s important to teach a child how to properly play. Before signing your child up for competitive soccer, you might want him or her to do a summer skills clinic. When playing board games, do a demo game where no one wins or loses. Or team up and play against two other people in your family. Sometimes, my daughter and I will play checkers against the computer together. Before playing with a “winner or a loser,” your child should understand the game and have a little practice. Also, stick to the age recommendations on the side of the game box. After all, a four-year-old probably won’t have much luck when it comes to Trivial Pursuit (unless it’s the kid version). And, speaking of chance, let your child know that some games, like “Chutes and Ladders” involves a little bit of luck.
Try your Best
When talking to my daughter about competition, I reminded her that trying your best is a great quality. Putting forth effort will help her be successful. There is a quote from Rosalynn Carter (wife of Jimmy Carter) that sums this up well. The former first lady said “You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried.”
Losing, and failure, is part of life. Teaching children to lose gracefully will help them bounce back from failure.
More from Melissa:
Teaching Young Kids the Art of Being Tactful
Is Public Humiliation a Good Way to Discipline Your Child?
Me Time: Why Mommy Needs a Break