For some kids the pressure to win a game is just too big. When a competitive child loses a game they might throw a tantrum or they might gloat when they win. It must leave some parents wondering if their child should play sports at all!
Playing sports helps kids stay active, learn new skills and make friends. It teaches them about teamwork, responsibility and competition. Kids should be able to enjoy all aspects of sports – not just the final result.
Focus on how your child improves with each game. They will learn that you can have a good game despite the score.
Some kids will refuse to play if they don’t think they’re very good. It takes time and effort to improve skills and build confidence. So encourage them to keep playing.
Children also need to learn that it’s not about being the best at everything they do. In fact, this isn’t even possible. If your child complains that they aren’t the fastest runner in the team you can reply with a positive: “You might not be the fastest but you are really great at kicking the football.”
When you do see bad sportsmanship let your child know it’s okay to be upset but it’s not okay to act the way they did. Then let them know what to do next time: “It’s not okay to shout at your team mates. Take three deep breaths next time you feel angry.”