If your child is anything like mine, then he or she is probably competitive. My daughter loves to play games, especially those that have scores or teams, and I like that she has fun playing team sports. But during these types of play, there is usually always a winner and a loser, and it can be hard for kids, especially younger ones. A few years ago, my daughter had difficulty losing when she played team games and sports. Her father and I have been working with her to ensure that she plays well with others, and if she loses, she does so as a good sport.
Here are five ways to help your child be a good sport during play:
1. Lead By Example
Of course, as adults who want kids who have good sportsman-like conduct, we need to also act accordingly. During school team events, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen a parent show poor sportsmanship because his child or their team was losing. Kids pick up on this, so it is important that we lead by example. In order to teach them to be good sports, we have to be good sports.
2. Talk About It
When you see your child acting in a not-so-nice manner during team sports or play, discuss it right then. Talking about how he should act right when it happens is a good way to instill those values in your child. Sweeping it under the rug and not addressing the issue will only make it worse.
When my daughter was going through her whining-about-losing moments, we began to roleplay. I would act out the part of a child who cried when she won. My daughter then understood that when a child does that, it not only hurts them, but also the child who won, which isn’t very nice. Roleplaying allowed her to see how her behavior affected others, and she understood how important good sportsmanship was for everyone.
4. It’s Okay to Lose
Recently while at a family retreat at Universal Studios, we were playing a team activity against other family teams. We lost to another team, and my daughter felt that it was her fault and started to cry. I reminded her of how good sportsmen act and that it is okay to lose. You can’t win every time, and that is okay.
5. Hug it Out
Sometimes when your child loses, she needs some reassurance. Make sure to have plenty of hugs on tap in case your child needs them, and be there for them when they win or lose.
Kids will be kids, but they should do so while being good sports. Participating in team play is a great way to teach your child many things, win, lose, or draw.