Teaching Your Child How to Lose
Every one of us get a thrill out of winning. Even the most selfless person in the world will get a buzz from winning. Whether it’s winning a game, winning a raffle, winning lotto; we can all agree winning is exciting.
But we cannot win all the time. There are times when we will lose. I think it is important to teach your child how to lose graciously. We do not want them throwing an absolute wobbly every time they do not win.
If we don’t teach our child how to lose graciously, then we cannot expect them to magically know how to do it! So here are some tips…
Actually let them lose
We have all been in the world’s slowest running race with a toddler, or played so badly in snap that we have miraculously been defeated. It is all well and good to let our kids win, even if it is the lion’s share of the time. But they also need to learn it is possible to lose and it not be the end of the world. So, on the odd occasion don’t let them win. They will then start to grasp that they will not always win at everything.
Encourage the fun of the activity
Teach your children that we do each competitive activity for the fun of the activity, not just to win. If they have fun while they are playing a board game, participating in team sport or running in a race then celebrate that. Don’t solely celebrate the end result.
Ask them if they enjoyed the game and not ‘who won?’ Celebrate the small achievements (even if they are really small) so that the fun of the game becomes the focus.
Capitalise on their empathy
Talk about the nice feeling you get when you win something. Then explain that everyone likes that feeling. So if your child is not the winner, they can celebrate a friend’s joy at winning instead.
If your child has behaved as a bad winner or loser then ask them to put themselves in their opponent’s shoes. How would they feel if their opponent laughed or made fun of the fact they lost? How would they feel if their opponent gloated over the fact that they had won? Explain that we treat people the way that we want to be treated. Would you like to be treated that way? If not, then do not treat others in that manner.
It is always good to remind them to congratulate the winner.
Celebrate mistakes as learning opportunities
Your child will make errors while they are playing or participating which will cause them to lose. Everybody makes mistakes. But mistakes do not need to be a negative thing. We can learn from them and make it a positive experience. They will probably not make the same mistake next time. That’s not to say they won’t make a different mistake next time, but then that can be a learning opportunity too!
Play Cooperative Games
There doesn’t always have to be a winner and a loser. They will start to learn how to work as a team and that sometimes working as a team to achieve something is the reward. As they get older and want to participate in team sports they will need to learn how to play with their peers and not as a solo player. Cooperative games are an excellent foundation for these skills.
Finally, we can teach them that it is alright to be sad when we lose. But there will be another opportunity to win again the next time.
Have you taught your child how to lose? Have your children had any bad loser moments? Or been on the receiving end of bad loser moments from other children? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Faceboook page.
Gemma is a kiwi Mum of one and is the Editor for The Baby View. She also works with preschool children, loves cooking, loves sunshine, loves chocolate and loses countless hours at a time looking at cute baby pictures on Instagram!