As parents or guardians, we know that our child isn’t always going to “win.”  Sometimes, he or she will do poorly on a test in school, or a friend at the Fort Wayne day care will be angry or just plain mean.  We know how much that can hurt, because we all experience similar things at work, in our neighborhoods, and even from family members.

Teaching your child to enjoy competition means teaching them that they can have fun, even if they aren’t the “winner.”  They may not be as good at something at another student at their Fort Wayne day care.  That will hurt — so here are some ideas for helping your child learn to be a good loser, and a good winner.

First of all, explain to your child that losing or not being first does not mean he or she is “a loser.”  You may be able to explain about a time when you didn’t come in first.  Talk about what some of the other children at the Fort Wayne day care may do better, and show your child what he or she can do better than most.  

Sometimes that special characteristic may not seem like a “big deal” to a child, so you may have to help your child understand that being good in sports or the student who always has the right answer isn’t the only way to matter.  A child who always shows kindness to other students at the Fort Wayne day care or who likes to read to younger children is special and a winner, too.

Secondly, congratulate your child no matter how he or she does.  This does not mean to give them false praise.  But it does mean that you don’t have to withhold your praise until he or she is perfect.  After all, none of us are perfect all the time!  Celebrate learning to spell a word that has been especially difficult, or finishing homework at the Fort Wayne day care if that’s been a struggle.  Show by your example that little things matter, too.

You may also want to encourage your child to try to say positive things to other children at his or her Fort Wayne day care, even if that child has outperformed your child.  Explain about the value of kind words.  The Bible tells us, “A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up” (Proverbs 15:1).  That’s both a good way for you to deal with your child when he or she is angry — and a good lesson to teach when your child must deal with anger at school or at the afterschool program in Fort Wayne.

Even young children know when they are being patronized, so you don’t have to “pretend” to lose when you play a game with your child.  But it’s no fun to always lose, so be sure to choose games to play together that he or she can win, and make sure you share your secrets for doing well (if your child is open to them).  Your child may learn a new game at the afterschool program in Fort Wayne, so give him or her a chance to teach you, too!  That can be a lot of fun for a child.

Finally, don’t make light of your child’s feeling of disappointment or even anger (often at himself or herself) if they lose.  Whether it’s at school, at the afterschool program in Fort Wayne or at home, your child may take it hard if he or she isn’t the best at something — especially if it is something he or she has always before been good at.  Let your child cry or sit quietly, but that doesn’t mean you let them act out.  While hitting the wall may sound like a good idea sometimes (even for adults), it’s not a good way to deal with disappointment.  Instead, remind your child about times when he or she was been the best.  Thinking about how other children feel when they aren’t first can help build a gentle spirit in your child.

If your child participates in an activity at the afterschool program in Fort Wayne that he or she continuously fails at, talk to the teacher.  Maybe they have ideas to help your child improve.  He or she may never be best, but learning to do better can be a big boost to self-confidence.

But most importantly, remind your child that you love him or her, no matter what.  It’s fun to win, but it’s not always possible.  So encourage him or her to try to have a good time, learn so he or she can keep improving, and participate in some things where he or she can really shine.