Should Parents Let Their Child Win at Games?
Playing competitive games with children is fun and effective on several levels. Children love the one on one attention from an adult and they thrive on attempting to beat an opponent whom they see as having the upper hand. But should you let your child win?
From time to time it is important for you to either win the game or at least try to beat the child. Letting the child win each time is condescending and teaches the child little about winning and nothing about losing.
Children learn to compete around the age of five, when they begin to compare their behavior and performance to that of others. Educators believe this is about the time when children may develop the tendency to be underachievers or overachievers. The child who easily and frequently wins at games with parents may not persevere while either playing with more challenging partners or attempting school work.
The child who never wins may likewise lose their desire to persevere in games or tasks at school. The child who learns to both win and lose early on, under the watchful eye of loving parents, may be more likely to prevail with more challenging tasks in and out of school.
However, there is another important reason for you to occasionally win in games with your child. Every parent wants to know how to rear their children to be responsible people. Children will respect parents who demonstrate their own competence whether it is in preparing dinner, going to work or, yes, even in winning at a game as their opponent.
Generally, children enjoy an intellectual challenge. Children will appreciate your involvement more if they see you can at least offer them competition. Also, use game time as a chance to demonstrate how to win and lose graciously while always being a good sport.
This is also a good time to discuss the importance of rules in a game. Often children will not want to bother with reading the instructions. However, I have told my students that a lot of thought and experimenting went into writing the directions and deciding which way the game plays best.
Sometimes students may have a fun, creative way to change the game. It can be good to let them try their idea and who knows, their way may be better. Although, children should take the time to learn the official rules first and then they may branch out with their own creative thoughts.
In doing so, they will avoid a lot of conflicts in life where the situation requires you to “follow the rules”.
See Also: Best Board Games for Brainy Kids