Everyone would want to win, but there is always only one winner. Some children find it hard to lose, and jump to teasing, bullying and war of words over a lost game. It becomes worrisome when your kid stresses out on losing and winning more than playing a game. Learning to lose without losing your cool is a skill that can be learnt only with practice and perseverance. The world is competitive from all aspects, and whether it is a game or something else, you must teach your child that losing is not as bad as he thinks.
- Helping your Child Deal with Stress after Losing A Game
- Mind Your Actions
- How can you provide your Child Encouragement After Losing a Game?
- Qualities of Good Sportsmanship
Helping your Child Deal with Stress after Losing A Game
Losing a game could be stressful for a young chap; he could be disappointed with himself or his fellow team mates. He could be going through an array of emotions that might affect his behavior.
8 Tips to Help your Child Cope with Losing a Game:
- Indulge in pure play fun: Apart from his usual sports, let him play with toys. Allow him to go on a run with the dog, picnic-ing, cycling or playing in sand/water. This would help him relax without any feeling of competitiveness
- Ensure relaxed sleep: Devise a bed routine together with your kid and follow it even before the D’Day. When normal routine is observed, it will help him relax
- Take him for a refreshing break: Take him for a movie, fair or a hot chocolate treat. This will distract his mind from stress and he would feel rejuvenated. He will perform more efficiently with new energy
- Pray together: It is difficult to teach the concept of meditation, transcendence and yoga to young kids. Inculcate the habit of praying aloud. It has meditating effect and gives a way out to vent emotions and anxiety
- Assign a coach: Depending on your kid’s interests and performance, it would be wise to let him train under an expert. Professional supervision and guidance will increase his confidence and master new methods. However, do not be nosy by advising the coach how to teach or arguing that he is not giving enough time to your child. The child could feel that you do not have confidence in him
- Talk to him: Encourage your kid to spit out his worries or anxieties. It’s anytime better to release than to keep in. Support him when he expresses his worries about losing a game. Tell him that you love him regardless of his defeat or victory. But this conversation should not be about you preaching – it should be about him sharing his feelings, anguish, loss and frustrations.
- Provide a balanced diet: Kids burn out more during stress. Food is important to maintain emotional stability and mental concentration. It also regulates mood. Make your child have plenty of water to stay hydrated. Make sure your kid stays off junk food and has a balanced, nutritious diet that helps in mood elevation
- Teach your child a few relaxing techniques:
- Deep breathing
- Closing eyes and focus before game
- Listen/dance to music
- Warm bubble bath with toys
Mind Your Actions
Your child’s mind will mould according to your actions. Many parents take a child’s loss in a game as a personal attack and feel as if the child has let them down. Even if you desperately want your child to win the game, make sure you keep the feelings with yourself. Don’t stress out or become vocal about your worries, you kid will catch it from you. A child can be very sensitive on these things, and he might start feeling really low and depressed. You can encourage him to practice progressive muscle relaxation and repeat positive statements to self.
How can you provide your Child Encouragement After Losing a Game?
Kids are particularly sensitive to loss. As parents, you want to eliminate his fears and pain immediately, but accepting loss is also essential for a healthy social and emotional development. It is an awkward situation when he screams, throws tantrums or demands the winner’s prizes be given to him. He associates defeat with shame and failure and victory with pride and accomplishment. Go through following tips to broaden your child’s mind and help him overcome the disappointment.
- Praise efforts: Tell your kid that you are proud of him that from so many kids he has the courage to play in front of such a big audience. Do not enforce a result-oriented game. Do not fuss about winning, focus on fun too
- Treat him after the game not just victory: Take your kid and possibly his friends for an ice cream treat after game, not just if he wins. Friends will bounce back together and forget bitterness by bonding over. They would eventually chatter out and blink away their defenses
- Empathize: Let him know that you are aware of his feelings. Acknowledge defeat and let this feeling sink in. Support by saying, “I know you practiced a lot. I am sorry you didn’t fare well this time. But there’s always another game.”
- Don’t lecture: Sometimes, your gestures and expressions are enough. Don’t rant about what went wrong, planning and practice. Give him some space and time to calm down. You can talk about what went wrong when he has focus on the game, not when he is already low
- Provide unconditional positive regard: Don’t express your unhappiness if he loses. He’s more worried about failing your expectations. Tell him that you love him despite the outcome of game
- Be yourself: Your kid will mostly act and behave like you. So be careful about how you react when things don’t happen as per your wish in front of him. Remain calm and positive and you can expect the same from him
- Increase social interaction: Organise play dates and family get-togethers. Such interaction with peers is essential as they learn to negotiate and share toys. They are capable of tackling themselves
- Encourage him to become a fan:Let him follow his favorite sports personality. Show how he practices sportsmanship by shaking hands before and after the game, congratulating others and maintaining dignity
- Break the winning habit: Do not let your child win easily even if he is upset with his performance. If he loses, encourage him to cheer the other player on his behalf. Tell him that kids who are good sports and do not freak out on losing become the best people to have fun with
- Inspire him to play other games: Indulge him in a variety of sports not just one. It will break the routine of playing same game over and over. You never know he may be better in other sports
Qualities of Good Sportsmanship
Inculcate the qualities of good sportsmanship in your child. Politeness, cheering up for team mates, listening to the coaches, refraining from arguing, bad mouthing and teasing are some positive qualities that parents should make their kids learn. Rather than blaming others, let your child learn the game and never advocate being unfair or rude. Tell your child that telling the opponents that this was a good game whether he lost or won is true sportsmanship.
In young children, losing games followed by teasing can be really frustrating and takes a toll on their ego. Sometimes this may lead to bitterness in friendship and break their confidence. So instill healthy spirit of sportsmanship in your growing tot. Let us end this with a beautiful and inspiring quite from Morgan Wootten –“You learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going.