Let Your Kid Win by Having Him Lose
Please welcome a guest post by Sarah Butland. She is a very talented author who you will enjoy reading. Have fun and follow up with her bio at the end.
We agreed it was important to play fairly with our child, even when it came to games like chess and scrabble. Letting him win the games we played together would have put him at an unfair advantage in life as you can’t always win the first time you try.
That doesn’t mean it has been easy. With games like chess and scrabble, there is a learning curve to be had so it did mean our child lost more than he won and there were times he cried at the loss. But he’s seven years old and, in the past couple of years, has learned how to have us on the run and beat us more frequently than we’ll ever admit.
It takes patience, persistence and perseverance but was well worth it. Our son now looks for ways to improve his game, seeks out new games and impresses us with his ability to play games typically suited for much older ages, and he loves it. As an athlete, he’s okay with losing a game as he focuses on the fun he has as well as thinks about how he can improve for next time. He is very competitive but a humble loser and a happy winner when it happens.
Why Do We Do This?
There are many reasons we went this route and encourage you to do the same. Here are the top 5 of them:
As homeschoolers, we understand the power of education in everything we do. With this in mind, as well as our own sanity, we discouraged games that are pure luck or just plain simple such as the Pie Face Game and Snakes and Ladders. Yes, we’ve played Snakes and Ladders as well as CandyLand and card games like Crazy 8’s, but we tend to get bored of those ones really quickly.
They are fun, universal and, maybe most importantly, quick and direct. Not having to strategize and think too hard after a long day at work is just something we all enjoy. Our son does often pick word games, problem solving ones and those which ensure the game isn’t left to chance though which makes it more fun for us and, secretly, the part of his schooling we don’t have to beg him to do!
He Can Play With Anyone
Our son has a lot of older friends, including teenagers and adults, who don’t mind playing Monopoly and Blokus with him as they are designed with older kids in mind. This ensures no matter where he is or who he is with there is some fun to be had!
Less TV Time
We have always limited electronics of any kind (even though some could argue that some is educational) because we would rather spend time with him than in front of a screen. This also helps when the power goes out or when camping to keep us all entertained and laughing.
Friends always comment on how many games we have, and it makes us feel great as it means we have a wide selection of family activities to choose from.
They Teach Respect
Among other things, board games and their challenges teach respect not only of the game itself but of the people playing with you. We ensure the games are always put away when not being used so we know where all of the pieces are, even the itty-bitty ones or ones rarely used.
Respect is also shown to the other player as our son has been guided through his learning process and, in turn, guides others new or unfamiliar with the game. Be careful, though, as he won’t just let you win and is rarely easy on his opponent.
Inspires Imagination and Patience
Creativity is very important in our household, I am a writer after all, so we value the opportunities to focus on that. Some games such as Bounce Off and Spy Alley balance the fun aspect of games with life skills that are subtly taught.
While games like Scrabble and Nab-It teach spelling, reading and vocabulary, other board games can be used for creativity and aim while you try to be both offensive and defensive in your moves. Seeing how our son problem solves can lead to such memorable and magical moments for us all.
And when you can, teach math by having your child keep track of score! This teaches yourself patient and gives him or her a reason to add or subtract and shoot for that goal of being higher (or lower) than you!
Most importantly, include your whole family and encourage learning through fun!
Sarah Butland was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She now resides in Nova Scotia, Canada with her high school sweetheart and son.
The creator of BananaBoy and author of the Adventures Of Sammy series beginning with Sending You Sammy, her first published children's book, Butland dreams big and starts small. Brain Tales – Volume One and Arm Farm added to her in print collection of books among her blog (www.SarahButland.com), articles for magazines and many other forms of writing.