Should You Let Your Child Win at Games?

Trying to find the right balance between letting your child win at games and teaching them how it feels to lose can be challenging. If your child is always winning, they will expect this to happen every time they are in a competition. On the other hand, if they are forever losing, it could be detrimental to their self-esteem and confidence.

When your child is young, it is good to encourage them to get involved in games, even if this is just with family members in the garden. By letting them win at this age, it can encourage them to take part in more games in the future because they get a taste of what it feels like to be the best.

As Your Child Grows Up It Is Important That They Also Experience Losing

While it is nice for your child to experience winning, it is important that they don’t get used to it and that you let them experience losing as well. Losing can teach your child to learn from their mistakes and improve on them for next time.

The understanding of losing can benefit your child significantly in the future, both in education and the workplace.

A St Peter's Prep pupil playing table tennis

How to Find the Balance of Letting Your Child Win and Lose at Games

A simple 50/50 rule is sufficient. As mentioned previously, when they are younger and don’t have a great understanding of competition, it can be more beneficial to let them win. However, as they grow up, let them lose.

Your child will likely take part in sports events, spelling bees and other competitions during their time at school, so you want to try and avoid instilling that winning is the only important part of competition, because they won’t always come first at school.

How to Deal with a Sore Loser

No one likes the feeling of losing, especially younger children. If you are faced with a sore loser and tantrums seem to be a regular occurrence whenever they come last, it is important to try and turn this around quickly.

Tell them that losing isn’t a bad thing and that it can only help them improve. Explain that they cannot win at everything, but they can try their best to be better next time.

St Peter's Prep pupils running in a race

You want to try and teach them that the chance of losing is always present when taking part in games and competitions and explain to them that it doesn’t mean they are a failure or bad at what they are doing. Ensure that they are not discouraged because this could lead to them avoiding competitive activities in the future.

You might be interested in reading our blog about the pros and cons of competition.

In the graphic below, we have briefly explained how you should try to handle competitions with your child at particular ages.

How to handle competitions with your children based on ages infographic

We hope that your children enjoy competing in games and can begin to understand that losing is just part of it. Here at St Peter’s Prep, we are an independent pre-school in Devon, and we believe that playing competitive sport in their journey through school is enormously beneficial for their future.

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

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