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Teaching Sportsmanship to Young Children

Posted by in Home: Family  ~  May 09, 2012 10:53:17 PM

Teaching your children good sportsmanship is one of the most important things that you can do as a parent. Good sportsmanship will give your child a head start on school, and the long line of challenges in the coming years. If your child is a poor winner or loser, then they are being crippled for any chance at a future. The power to lead and set the example is absolutely vital to success in today’s world, and sportsmanship is the beginning step to excellence in these areas. You simply can not have one without the other.

Teaching sportsmanship to children is rather easy if you remember that you are dealing with kids. So many parents confuse sportsmanship with dominance and winning. Sportsmanship is not about winning and losing, particularly when it is children that are involved. Sportsmanship is about etiquette and respect. Teaching your child sportsmanship on the playing field should be no different than teaching them to respect others sitting in the church pew. Each is an extension of the other. Respect is respect no matter where you are attempting to teach it.

The first step to teaching children sportsmanship is to get them involved in sports. No parent that has ever signed their child up for a sporting season or event will ever tell you that it was a mistake. Sports are an incredible way to teach children about sportsmanship, fair play, and social skills. When you put kids together in a competitive environment, then you are able to truly see them at their best and worst. This will allow you the scenarios to properly teach sportsmanship.

One of the first things you have to teach your children about sportsmanship is that you have to respect those around you. This goes for not only the other team, but your child’s teammates as well. This goes to teamwork, and it is vital any lesson in sportsmanship. Respect is the main focal point for all sportsmanship and should be clearly defined for your children.

Teaching your child about adversity is another key lesson in sportsmanship. When the team is not playing well, how does your child respond? Do they get angry and start blaming others? Do they get upset and give up? If so, then you should use this to teach them about overcoming adversity. Show them that you should pull together instead. Show them that they should stay positive and work harder to do better on the field.

Most of all, show them that they should never blame their teammates, regardless of the situation. Instead, show them how they might be able to help their teammate to improve. When it is your child that is not performing well on the field, it is another great chance to teach sportsmanship. When this happens you should encourage them and explain that it just means that they need practice. Explain that when we are not good at something, that it only means we need to practice and try harder. This will give them a good work ethic to go along with that sportsmanship.

Finally, the biggest lesson of all of the sportsmanship lessons - winning and losing. This is easily the toughest of all the various lessons. Winning and losing is hard for kids, and sometimes even harder for adults. The key is to explain that they should not be braggarts, but confident. They should not be happy in losing, but at the same time they should not pitch fits over it either. The balance in winning and losing comes from knowing that they did their best. If they do their best, then they never really lose. No matter what the scoreboard says, kids need to know that they are worthy and special. Concentrate on what they did well in losing, and what they can improve on in winning.