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Young Kids and Competition

Posted by Melissa A

Lately, it’s been all about competition in our house. E likes to play board games but he expects to win each time. If he does win, he makes fun of the person who lost. (“Ha ha, I win, you lose!”) If he doesn’t win, he cries about it. I’ve taken it upon myself to teach him about healthy competition and how it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, as long as you’re nice about it.

Last year, I would motivate E to get dressed in the morning by allowing whoever got ready first to pick out the TV show they were both going to watch before school. While I was helping M (because he was only one year old at the time), E would rush to get ready in the meantime. He “won” most of the time, but there were days where he’d play around in his room and M would be done first. On those days, he’d have a tantrum because he lost. I explained to him that sometimes M gets to win too, and that he should congratulate M on doing a good job.

Apparently, this hasn’t sunk in yet. E is still older, wiser and faster than M, and he also understands how to play games better than M does. Still, he gets so upset whenever M wins, even if it’s only once in a while. I’m hoping that he’ll learn how to be a good sport over time and I know that it will only come from adult role models emphasizing the point repeatedly. I also hope that poor sportsmanship doesn’t rub off on M so that we don’t go through the same routine when he decides to compete with his future younger sibling.

Any suggestions for teaching good sportsmanship would be welcome at this time.


About Melissa A

Melissa A. and her husband have 2 young sons, E and M, and a new baby daughter. Melissa's son E has hearing loss and wears a cochlear implant. Melissa works as an administrative assistant for a non-profit and also runs a bullying prevention group and a book-related fan group, in addition to blogging for Empowering Parents. You can check out Melissa’s personal blog here.

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