Do you dread, or avoid playing games with your kid because of the meltdown or tantrum that you know will inevitably happen? Is your kid a "bad sport"? You are not alone! Take heart. We can help our kids learn the skills to be both a gracious winner and accept losing with dignity. Read on to keep the fun in the game.
First of let me say, I'm glad you're here reading this because you are not alone. Many many parents feel discouraged and frustrated by a child who can't play a game without getting mad. Here's what many parents do about it....
Nothing. We avoid playing games, which avoids the problem in the moment, but it also avoids teaching our kids the skills they need to better handle successes and perceived failures.
Consider these 3 ideas:
1. Prepare your child: "Hey, I'd love to play Go-fish with you. Hmmm, I wonder how you will feel if I ask for a card you have? " This gets your kid thinking.
2. Add in problem solving. "Hmmm, if YOU ask ME for a card I have... I might feel frustrated. Hmmm, I think I'll take a deep breath and then say "darn! You got my shark card". Maybe I'll even ask you for a hug." This way you are setting the stage for accepting that frustration is a part of playing games, and giving words to use and tools to feel better.
3. Add something silly: at the end of a game, someone wins and someone... doesn't win (loses). Someone is feeling happy and someone likely feels bad. We started ending our games in a silly way, everyone crosses their arms, then holds hands, and shakes their hands up and down while saying "good game, good game, good game". It always gets people smiling and making friendly eye contact with each other. Let me know if works for you!
If you're finding yourself in a challenging parenting season and are ready to see growth in your family touch base with me. A free S.O.S (Save Our Sanity) parent coaching consult might be your next step.