Learning how to handle winning and losing is one of the ways kids build self-esteem and develop valuable life skills. Winning instills a sense of accomplishment, and losing teaches them to strive to do better, not give up, and show sportsmanship when things don't go their way. Unfortunately, in today's "every kid gets a trophy" culture, parents have made competition take a backseat to ensuring that nobody's feelings get hurt.
Here are six ways to help your child make the most out of winning and losing:
- Have them focus on the fun. Win or lose, having fun is what matters.
- Teach them to strive for their personal best, not the win. Oftentimes, kids will lose interest or quit something simply because they're not winning. But a personal best should count just as much as a victory in your eyes and theirs.
- Help them understand that not everybody wins. There are a zillion kids out there who each want to win. You can't do it every time.
- Talk about the importance of sportsmanship. When they win, they should enjoy the good feeling, but also be humble about it. When they lose, they need to do it with class and without pouting, yelling, or screaming.
- Have them congratulate the competition after a defeat. Being able to get up, smile, and be gracious after a loss makes you feel better about it.
- Don't only praise them when they win. Treat the experiences of success and defeat equally. When they have a good attitude about losing, tell them how it impresses the heck out of you.
- Use examples. Discuss important figures who have worked hard for their successes and omit the ones who blatantly cheat. Model the behavior yourself.