Everyone wants to be a winner, but that’s not always possible. Someone, or an entire team, has to take the loss.
Fact: Whenever there are two teams and kids are playing one another in a game or contest, someone will lose (unless it’s a tie). Kids often lose in small ways, like in a game of one-on-one basketball, but they also might face losing in bigger ways, such as when their team loses a state championship game.
Losing is disappointing, so it’s not surprising that kids – or any of us hate it. But anyone can learn to control how they react to a loss. So, what should you do when you lose? Once it happens, you need to think before reacting.
Do you storm over to the other team and accuse them of cheating? Of course not. The best thing to do is to try to collect yourself and get in line with your teammates so you can congratulate the other team. Yes, congratulate, don’t be stingy!
While the losing team may not feel like it was such a good game, congratulating the opponent is one way to teach everyone to take the loss in stride. If you feel like crying later or you want to complain about the game, you can — but do it off the field and after you’ve had a chance to cool down. After a while, you might not feel as upset as you the moment the game ended.
Outside of team play, kids can lose on their own, like in a neighborhood game of baseball. These situations can be extra-hard if there are no adults around to referee. Then it’s up to the kids to decide whether something counted as a homerun or a foul ball. It’s good for kids to learn to play without an adult deciding everything but it also can lead to a lot of arguing. All kids want their team to win and may feel very strongly about plays that don’t go the team’s way.
How do you deal with those circumstances? Stay calm and stay fair. Some kids still might cheat or bend the rules, but you can do your best to be fair. That might mean giving the other team the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully, the other team will be just as fair when one of your calls could go either way. Even if they’re not, you can’t be accused of cheating or playing unfairly. You’ve done your part to bring good sportsmanship to the game.