Try This At Home
The next time your child loses, use the opportunity to help him or her learn from the situation. Have your child draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the top of one side write Good and on the top of the other side write Improve.
First, on the Good side, write down all of the things he or she did well. Then, on the Improve side, write down all the things he or she could have done better. Look at the list of things to work on and come up with ways to practice or fix them for the next time. Remind your child that everyone wants to win, but we don’t learn nearly as much when we do; losing is an opportunity to raise his or her game to the next level.
Losing: fact of life
We all want our children to be winners and to protect them from life’s cruel realities, but unfortunately, losing is a fact of life and we do them an injustice by insulating them from it. No matter how hard we try to shield them, eventually they are going to lose. If they learn at a young age how to cope with and learn from losing, they will be better equipped for the real world. No one is successful at everything they do and not many are successful their first time. There is only one winner and there are many losers.
Teach your children to look at losing as a learning opportunity.
They don’t have to like losing and its okay to be disappointed, but they might as well make the best of it. Also, teach them to be a gracious winner and loser. Nobody likes the kid who throws the bat or helmet and stomps off. No matter how difficult it is, they should always congratulate their opponent and show respect to the officials and coaches.
I remember sitting in the bleachers watching Junior National Track Cycling Championships in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. One of the local sprinters lost his race. He came off the track in a huff and threw his expensive bike and ripped off his helmet and smashed it to the ground. Neither his parents nor coach reprimanded him, but my mom used his poor display of sportsmanship to briefly talk with my sister and me about the inappropriateness of his behavior and what the proper thing to do would have been.
There is nothing wrong with your kids wanting to win, that’s why they play the game, but the real goal every time they compete should be to do their best. In the end, that’s all they can do. Losing is just another tool they can use to help them do their best.
For more information about me, my weekly blog, or my children's books, please visit www.erinmirabella.com. My children's books, Gracie Goat's Big Bike Race and Shawn Sheep The Soccer Star, are great ways to start discussions about sportsmanship.