Let them win, and help them understand that winning is losing to. So, one of the things I learned about being a parent is to take cues and lessons from other parents. While living with friends I noticed how different their play and games routines were from mine. Didn’t take away anything negative about theirs or mine, just made me aware of some things I wanted to incorporate into my sons life and mine. One of the biggest on my agenda was games. My son has a wii, which I was against at first. But his abuelita bought him one and what can I say? His mom wanted him to use it at their house. But, I wanted to do something playful that involved thinking and strategy.
So, I noticed my friends played a lot of board games. I never really played them heavily as a kid. I knew of them and played occasionally, but I always find myself having to reread the instructions as an adult. So, one night my boy is at a friends house playing a game called “Stratego”. Now mind you, I’ve already done my Christmas shopping, but I went back to get more board games because it interested him.
Fast forward, we’ve started to play "Trouble" and "Stratego". I got Scrabble as well, but breaking these other ones in first. So Stratego is kind of a war game , an easier version of Chess. And Trouble is a game of completing laps with figures through chance. My son loves both of these games and loves winning! BUT, he falls apart when he loses. I’ve done my best to be calm, not react too much. I simply state that he must be a good sport and congratulate his opponet the way they do in soccer practice. I've beaten him and I've let him win. Why? I could let him win all the time, but I think that is building false hope because once he comes across a worthy opponet he will lose. And I don’t beat him all the time because I want him to understand that he wins some and loses some, but that the point is to keep playing. The more you play the better you become.
This is definitely trial and error, but I feel that letting them win some helps them build confidence and makes them eager to improve their skills. I also think beating him every now and then is good because him to respect defeat. More on this as it progresses. The most important thing though for me is building the ability to think critically in a different way.