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.
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.
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.
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