Healthy competition is good for children, but when winning or losing becomes overwhelming for your child, it’s time to work on good sportsmanship. At summer camp, many children learn how to have fun while playing games where there may be a winner and unfortunately a losing team. At Camp Sonshine, children learn to have fun, while at the same time practicing good sportsmanship techniques that will last a lifetime. It takes time, patience and routine to teach children good sportsmanship.
Remind Children of the Rules Prior to the Start of the Game
A good rule to follow when teaching sportsmanship to young children is to remind them of the rules of the game before you even get started. When children understand what is expected of them, they are less likely to act out while the game is being played. Let everyone know that the game should be fun, and that luck and skill are both part of the game. Remind children that it is more important to enjoy the game than it is to worry about who is ahead or winning.
Excessive Celebration Should Be Avoided
While it’s ok to celebrate when your team is winning, excessive celebration should be discouraged. Children become easily overwhelmed when one side is celebrating their win too much, and to teach good sportsmanship, it is necessary to teach that celebrating too hard hurts the feelings of other people.
Allow Your Child to Lose Once In Awhile
While you may avoid conflict by always allowing a child to beat you at a game, it’s important to win once in awhile in order to teach them good sportsmanship. When you win against your child, this is the perfect opportunity to model good sportsmanship behavior. You can remind your child that it is just a game, that they may win the next time, but that you had a great time playing with them.