Whether your kids are playing sports or playing a board game, losing is a part of life. Maybe they slam their game pieces on the board or throw their glove into the dirt? Losing is a reality. How can we have our kids enjoy competition yet understand how to cope with losing properly? Is there such thing as losing properly?
I played sports growing up and I recall losing was pretty devastating to me. I was a very competitive child. However I can’t recall any competitive losses that have stuck with into adulthood. They are really no big deal. At the time they may have been, but now they are not. I personally think being competitive is a good thing. I do however think it’s important to understand how you act and deal with others when you win or lose is important.
So how do we help our kids deal with losing? Here are a 8 tips:
1. Re-define Winning – We had expert coach Terry Liskevych who put things in perspective. The most important thing when kids are young is that they have fun. Discuss what sportsmanship is as well as possibly talking to them beforehand about the upcoming competition.
2. Set a good example – monkey see, monkey do. If you have a weekend basketball league and your kids see you throwing the ball against the wall in anger, you might want to re-evaluate that.
3. Give them positive attention – When they do something positive, make sure that is re-inforced. “I saw you help the other team member get up from the floor. That was really good sportsmanship”. or “You should be really proud of yourself for diving for the ball and going after it. See our episode 109 for more on this.
4. Empathy – Let’s face it, losing sucks. It’s not fun. You can say that to them when they are upset. We always want to make things better but offering suggestions doesn’t do that.
5. Teach them to Win Gracefully – Celebrating a win is great, but rubbing it into others is not ok
6. Teach them to Lose Gracefully – explaining that good sportsmanship is important. Congratulate the other person on their win or how well they played.
7. Learn from It – Ask the question, “would you have done anything differently?” Losing provides us an ability to reflect and see we might be able to do better next time.
8. Use it as motiviation – Being upset doesn’t fix the problem. Giving up doesn’t help either. I think many people give up because they lose confidence or they are afraid of messing up or the fear of actually trying hard and still not winning.
Having positive attitude about it can fix the problem. The way to move is forward. You can only go up. Putting yourself in a place
We want our kids to be winners but losing can be a great learning experience. Be sure your understand that you don’t have to make it better or make excuses. They need to go on their own journey.