Parents and children alike love sports and it’s easy to get caught up in a game and become focused on winning. There is so much more to be gained from the sports experience than just winning. When children are involved in sports, they are able to learn and put into practice values that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Good sportsmanship is one of the life lessons that children can learn from playing sports. You can help your little one understand and value good sportsmanship while ensuring they have a fun and safe sports experience.
Good sportsmanship may seem hard to define, but its hallmarks include respecting one’s opponents, being able to win without gloating and being able to lose gracefully. As parents, it is important that you give your child the tools they need to show good sportsmanship. Here are some simple easy ways you can do that:
- Talk about it off the field. Good sportsmanship begins with teaching your little one respect for coaches, teammates and opponents.
- Encourage a full effort. Sportsmanship also meaning being a supportive and sharing teammate who gives his or her full effort. Encourage your child to do their best even if the team is losing and to never give up, even if a team is winning.
- Watch professional sports and look for good examples. Having your child identify good and bad incidences of sportsmanship can help him or her understand how to behave on the playing field.
- Don’t forget the high fives. The greatest challenge for your little one will likely come at the end of a game – win or lose. Encourage your child to shake hands or give high fives to the opposing team after a game. This will only emphasize good sportsmanship!
- Reward positive behavior. The next time your little one has practice or a game, point out times when he or she displayed good sportsmanship. Rewarding positive behavior in your child can be as effective has highlighting negative ones.