There are concerns that good sportsmanship is becoming harder and harder to find on a regular basis. Most of the time, you will find it on sports teams. However, teaching good sportsmanship for things such as family game nights can be crucial to how your child’s behavior develops.
How to Teach Children Good Sportsmanship
Explain the Rules
Children cannot be expected to follow rules and not cheat if they do not clearly understand them, or if they think differently than most people. The game Luck, based on the movie, has people bid for spaces on the board to connect four in a row. If your child does not understand that only one space is auctioned off at a time, they might bid on two spaces at once. If you had explained the rules beforehand, give your child a gentle reminder that they can only bid on one space at a time. If the rules are being learned during the game, let them know about the rule and what it means to everyone. Be patient if they ask you questions. They may learn a different way, or they may not understand it, and it is up to you to explain it in a way that they will understand.
Be Able to Prove Cheating
If your child sees someone cheating during the game, they should feel comfortable calling them out on it. However, your child should be able to prove that the person is cheating. Otherwise, the child might be seen as a crying wolf, especially if the person they are accusing is currently winning because people might think that the child is trying to disqualify the other player to have a better chance of winning. For instance, if your family is playing a card game, and someone slips an ace up their sleeve, your child should let everyone know that it is there, as the person will then be made to roll up their sleeves and shake the card out, thus proving the child’s accusation correct. This also shows the children that it is alright and even encouraged them to speak up when someone is doing something wrong, which is an important life skill and vital to their character, self-esteem, and confidence.
Treat Loss With Grace
If your child loses the game, they need to know that losing is not the end of the world and that there will always be another chance. Be a model for this behavior by shaking hands with other players and saying ‘good game.’ Children follow a parent’s example, and it is a much better resolution than your child flipping the game board and scattering pieces, or throwing their controller and shattering the screen of the affected device.
Sportsmanship should be treated early, and outside of the stadiums as well as inside. Keep this article in mind in case you need some ideas on teaching your child sportsmanship. With a little patience, family game night will be much more enjoyable, and you can go to the next game without fuss or damage.