Why good sportsmanship is important in children

It’s important that we, as parents, teach our children the importance of winning – and losing – graciously.

 Teach your child how to be a good sport.

By their very nature, children love being first – whether it’s winning a school race or coming tops in a video game. The more competitive a child, the easy it is to get caught up in a game and become focused on winning.

It is important to teach your child good sportsmanship skills from a young age so that they can better interact with their peers and avoid any form of stress or anxiety.

What is good sportsmanship?

Good sportsmanship can be a little tricky to explain, especially to younger children. In a nutshell, its hallmarks include being able to win without gloating, respecting one’s opponents, and being able to lose gracefully.

Teaching good sportsmanship

Here are five ideas that may help you with teaching your child good sportsmanship – adapted from Children and Competition by the North Carolina Cooperation Extension Service.

  1. Teach your child what is right and what is wrong as well as how to win and lose graciously.
  2. Plan activities and team games in which you learn how to ‘beat the clock’.
  3. Play games of chance such as snap or bingo as well as games that involve strategies such as chess or backgammon.
  4. Be a good role model.
  5. Don’t push children too hard but coach them and encourage them to do better.

When to get help

If your child experiences a high degree of stress or anxiety such that it is interfering with his daily activities and quality of life, it is essential to get help. Chat to your doctor regarding how you can help your child.