Everyone likes to win. Whether it’s at sports, games, various competitions and even in life — and your children are no different. But for young minds, it’s a little harder to process losing so teaching good sportsmanship is vital to their confidence and maturity of their personality.

Sportsmanship is defined as conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports, especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing. The desire to win can lead children to behaviour that is considered poor sportsmanship.

Pre-school. There are a number of parents that allow their children to win at games — this only teaches children false hope. Which makes them believe they can beat almost anyone at the games they play because they beat their parents. Always teach your child the basic concept of games and allow them to learn by getting beat, the more times they lose the better they will learn the game.

Exhibit good sportsmanship while watching sport on TV or at a sports outing. You can do this by cheering for your team, but making positive comments about the other team. This will teach your children that although you are a fan of one team you still respect the other team’s players.

shutterstock_2739506When your child is playing sports or a game and they display good sportsmanship, acknowledge and praise them for that and be sure to address negative behaviour. Having the privilege of playing sports come with a responsibility to play fair and just have fun.

Grade-school. This is one of the best times to install good sportsmanship into your child’s life, before it gets out of hand. Start out with moderating your child’s behaviour closely to see if there is starting to be a problem or you could see one beginning to develop. Watch closely when they are losing or winning at a game and see how their attitude develops for each.

Address the issue right away if you see a problem, by simply explaining how good sportsmanship is not only recognized but it’s respected and expected out of each player on every sports team. Support them with encouragement and motivation, while on and off the team. Set a good example for your child while attending their sporting events and respecting the coach’s decisions to play your child or not play your child. If you do encounter a problem with the coach never address that in front of your child, be sure to have a private moment with the coach. It’s also important to accept your child’s ability. Never push them into something you want to do and listen to their wishes and desires before addressing yours to your child.

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