What to do When Your Kid Loses Their First Game

Teaching your kids how to lose with grace is a very important lesson.

losing gracefully

If your child is getting involved in sports, it’s pretty inevitable that they will eventually lose. Obviously, losing sucks for everyone, but as a parent it can be especially hard because your instinct is to protect your child from anything that will hurt them, while still instilling within them the idea that losing is okay.

So to help you and your children get through this milestone, here are five tips on how to help your child cope when they lose their first game.

READ MORE: Six Psychological Benefits of Children’s Sports

  1. Perhaps the most obvious is to explain that winning isn’t everything, and good sportsmanship is more important. This should probably be explained before your child even starts playing sports, and reinforced every time whether they win or lose.
  2. Give your child validation or praise for the things they did right in the game. Only offer constructive criticism, and even then, only if they seem open to it.
  3. Encourage your child to talk about their feelings around losing. There is nothing worse than having a child that shuts down and won’t talk to you. This will happen on it’s own when they become teens, so no need to rush the process.
  4. Offer a practical solution that your child can look forward to. Offer to practice with them, and explain that the more they practice, the better they will become.
  5. Set a good example for them. If you or your spouse reacts poorly to losing during family game night, your child is likely to pick up that behavior. Make sure you practice what you preach in regards to winning with grace.


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