Parents, doesn't it seem like recently we are hearing more and more stories about sports stars or professional athletes using some kind of perfomance enhancing drugs? As a parent, we know that our children often look up to these sports players and athletes as role models, and it is our job to teach our children about playing fair, healthy competition, and that it is okay to lose a game or match.
Playing fair is about learning the rules of the game and putting them into practice , whether they’re special family rules for card or board games, or the rules at school football. Everyone gets to enjoy the experience then. In some games, there’s also room for making up new rules, which can be a great way to solve problems collaboratively and encourage children to be flexible.
Playing fair is also about learning social rules that can help your child later on in life. Respect, taking turns, and being polite are key examples. The following list includes suggestions on how to help your child to play fair and enjoy the competition:
Helping your child to play fair
- The more the better . Provide lots of opportunities for a variety of play. Try pretend play, board and ball games, competitive games of skill such as chess, competitive games of chance, and cooperative games such as charades.
- Find a range of playmates. Your child can benefit from playing with children who are older or younger. For example, he can learn to be responsible by looking out for younger children, maybe showing them the rules. Older children can provide good role models for younger kids.
- Go over the rules of the game. Before kids start playing, make sure everyone knows the rules of the game.
- Introduce some social rules . Let your child know that she needs to wait for her turn. Also encourage her to be polite. For example, remind her to congratulate others when they win.
- Use opportunities to teach . Point out what your child did well. For example, you can say, ‘I thought it was great the way you shook hands with the other team at the end of the game’.
- Give feedback . Praise your child for sharing, taking turns and other good sporting behaviours.
- Lead by example. Children learn how to play fairly by watching what their parents say and do. Playing fair yourself, by following the rules, accepting rdecisions, being a good sport, is good role modelling.