Is Competition Good For Kids

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Most games will have your kids competing against each other and you may be wondering, “Is competition good for kids?”  Having three kids of my own and a pretty good memory of my own childhood, I would like to share with you my perspective on the concept.

Why Competition Is Healthy

Competition like many things can be spun in a good or bad light.  The trick here is to teach your kids how to be competitive in a healthy way and how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to the unhealthy path.

Healthy competition promotes many positive things such as:

  • Personal Growth
  • More Creativity
  • Taking Chances
  • Promotes Goal Setting
  • Preparation for the Real World

Competition itself is just a natural tool that humanity uses to grow as a civilization.  Without it we might still be back in the days of the cave man!  Think about it for a minute.  Mankind is always trying to make things better or do things faster and that is our competitive spirit shining through.

Using Competition As A Teaching Tool

I recommend that you work with your kids at a young age when it comes to developing their competitive spirit.  When it comes to life, we will all experience our ups and downs and knowing how to properly compete with others can be a tremendous asset.

You want to teach your kids how to be aggressive in their attempts to win, but to also keep in mind the other players and how they feel.  We all take turns winning and losing and it is important to learn how to be graceful during those times.

Karma What Goes Around
When it comes to your Karma, what goes around comes around.

The best way to teach kids how to do this in my opinion is to teach them about the Golden Rule.  Teaching your kids to always treat others as they would want to be treated is a great guideline to keep in mind when they are competing against someone.  Also, remember that you cannot enforce the Golden Rule as that is Karma’s job.  If someone cheats against you it doesn’t mean that it is ok to cheat against them as then you would only be reinforcing their behavior.

From Competition to Cooperative Behavior

By using the Golden Rule as a baseline to teach your kids how to compete in a healthy manor that will lead to much more cooperative behavior.  They will understand that the real fun in life is the journey and not the destination, or enjoying the game is more important then winning it.

Winners & Losers
Competing doesn’t need to be about how we finish, rather then how we played the game.

While winning is an important part of the game and life, every time we play the game we are gaining experience and learning.  The more we play the game the better we will become and the more we will have learned.  Over the courses of many games there will be different winners and losers, but everyone will have grown during that time.

Behaviors To Promote

There are several different behaviors that you want to promote and reward when it comes to encouraging healthy competition.

  • Congratulating – The first step in becoming a good sport is being able to congratulate someone when they do a good job.
  • Being Thankful – When good things happen, being thankful about it will help keep you on a positive path.
  • Sharing Knowledge – Seeing one kid sharing knowledge and know how to help teach others how to win.
  • Helping – By helping others, one begins to help themselves.
  • Smiles & Laughter – You know things are going well when everyone is happy.

It is important as the parent to not only encourage the above behaviors, but to recognize and reward them as well.

Wrap Up

In the end, being competitive is a very natural part of life.  It is up to us all to focus our efforts on recognizing the positive aspects of it.  By encouraging those aspects in your kids they will grow up a much more well rounded person.

If you have any questions or personal experiences that you would like to share with us please do so in the comments below.  I will make sure to answer any questions to the best of my ability in a prompt manner.  Thank you very much for stopping by and being a part of our community.

James W D
james@familygamenightideas.com

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22 Replies to “Is Competition Good For Kids”

    • Thanks for swinging by Dakota! While the site is centered on a Family Unit, many of the games that will be reviewed here will also cater to adults, friends, and family parties as well!

  1. Great subject James. I’m another who is disappointed with the school system these days which gives every child a ribbon for competing and no-one loses. We have to teach our children that there are winners and losers, else what is going to prepare them for “real life”? I really like your site and I’ve been watching for your posts. You share some great ideas, thanks James.

    • Sandi, I understand where you are coming from with everyone getting a ribbon or trophy as they did that in my area too. One of the biggest reasons for this whole site is to help parents find a positive way to help teach their kids about these life lessons. I am glad that you have been enjoying this site and I hope that you continue to do so for time to come!

  2. I enjoyed this post. I remember being very competitive as a kid. But it was all for fun. My friends and I were always very positive and encouraged fair play. I think that who you hang around with can truly amplify this kind of behavior. I’m very happy that I was lucky enough to be around really caring and well mannered people growing up.

  3. Very informative article, I think competition is very good between kids. I liked how you always mentioned the Golden Rule, competition is good but putting other down is not.

    • The Golden Rule is very important to me and I do my best to always take it into consideration. It is not always easy to follow it, but the more I do the better my life is. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I have a question…My daughter is already competitive by nature and tends to get jealouse pretty easily. Is it still ok to play competitive games or should we still to games of knowlege or strategy?

    • In my opinion, it is all the more important to play competitive games with them. The more You the Parent play competitive games with them the more opportunity you have to guide them to positive behavior with it. Be patient and calm when she makes a mistake, work with her to show her the effects of the mistake so that she can learn from it. When she does it the right way, make sure to compliment her for her hard work and focus to have the right behavior. Hope this helps, feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

    • I do my best to live my life by the Golden Rule. Ever since I made that change, my life has been a lot better in every aspect. Thanks for stopping by again!

  5. Thanks a lot James for commenting on my site, you have a great site too and its true. Keep up the good work. NEWBIES ROCK!

  6. You have created a wonderful and fairly important topic, these days kids tend to play online games by themselves or with complete strangers online. I love family games and we should encourage this whenever possible.

    • Bill, you are right in that there is a lot of disconnect in today’s world. The main goal of this site is to help families connect better through games, whether they are tabletop or electronic.

  7. Goodness, haven’t you been busy. I love your website. I don’t think there are enough families who have games nights or even just play with the children. It’s a shame because both are missing out.
    I was a teacher for many years and was dismayed when the annual sports day wasn’t allowed to be ‘competitive’ any more. No more races. No more cheering for your team. What is the world coming to if you can’t teach children how to be competitive in a safe environment ready to cope with the extremely competitive adult world.
    Well done.
    Jackie
    x

    • Jackie, Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. I totally understand about the competitiveness being cut out in a lot of schools and I too think it is a shame. It is a natural part of who we are and by ignoring it we are only setting our kids up for a much harder life then they deserve.

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