“Good game, good game, good game…” The image of teammates lining up at the end of a sporting event to acknowledge one another and give a hand shake is one that is well known to most. Go Hawks! Although the sentiment may not be the same for all players involved at the end of a tough game, it is a ritual that has lived on and is a vital component to being a “good sport”.
Being a good sport may be something that comes easily for some, but others could use a few pointers. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to work with your child in becoming a better sport. In Fred Frankels book, “Friends Forever: How parents can help their kids make and keep good friends,” he outlines some easy steps to helping your child master the art of sportsmanship!
Tips for raising a good sport:
- Take the game seriously – when first joining a team or group of friends, it’s important to take the game seriously with the others involved – goofing around could show the kids that you aren’t ready to play by the rules!
- Avoid refereeing – instead of arguing about the rules and pointing out mistakes other kids have made, let someone else do it!
- Let others have fun, too – If your child is MVP, teach them to let others have a chance to win, too.
- Give praise – it’s important to teach (and MODEL) to your child that winning is not the most important thing- it’s having fun! Learning different ways to praise his friends and teammates is vital – things like “good shot”, “nice try” and the ever-popular “good game” are just a few examples!
- Suggest a new rule instead of arguing – instead of shouting out when someone does something wrong, suggest that from this point “the white line is out”.
- Don’t walk away if you are losing or tired of playing – teaching your child to stay until the end of a round or talking to the teammates about maybe playing something new is important before just walking away!
As a parent, if you are able to watch your child in action at the park or on the field, it can be vital to remind your child of these rules and address them as they are or aren’t happening. If possible, it is ideal to be able to call your child over and talk with them briefly about what you saw and gently remind them with specific examples. Remember, as in learning any new skill, it takes some practice and reminders! Be patient and let the art of sportsmanship live on!
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!