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Winning and Losing

We all dread the moment when our child is about to lose a game and the inevitable temper tantrum that will surely ensue. It certainly doesn't matter what activity it is either, Monopoly, a soccer game, hide and seek, etc.

Teaching your child how to lose gracefully can be a tough feat because we're all programmed with the desire to win.

Win or Lose

Sure, we all let our kids win from time to time, but when does this become unhealthy? Well the fact is, losing takes some time to get used to, and the earlier you get your child familiar with the idea of losing the easier it will be. You don't want your child to be solely focused on competition, so you'll want them to realize that losing is part of playing a game. Try these steps to stop a sore loser in their tracks:

  • Play games of chance. Play Candylandâ„¢ or Sorryâ„¢ and explain to your child that winning isn't always dependent on skill, sometimes it has everything to do with luck.
  • Put the emphasis on trying your best. Yes, everyone wants to win, but explain to your child that giving it their best is what really matters. This idea can be applied to future endeavors as well.
  • Value good sportsmanship. Teach your child the proper manners for winning and losing. They should congratulate the winner and shake their hand. Vice versa, if they're the winner they should tell the other person, "Good try, maybe you'll win next time."
  • Praise your child, win or lose. "Wow, you did a really good job today and I can tell you gave it your all," "I'm really proud of how hard you tried," etc. These types of encouraging words will show your child that just because they lost doesn't mean they didn't do a good job. Give them a token reward certificate to make them feel good about their win.
  • Talk to your children after a loss. Communicate openly about the game and how they feel. Explain to them that they can't win every time and sometimes factors that are out of their control (luck, a bad call, skills of another opponent, etc) have the potential to determine the game.

Don't forget that your child learns from you and this doesn't just include losing a game of Candylandâ„¢. Don't come home from work complaining that your co-worker didn't deserve the new promotion because you produce better work then them. Following the steps above, combined with setting a good example of how a gracious "loser" acts, will surely make temper tantrums occur less often.