Teaching Your Kids How to Be a Good Sport

Teaching your children how to be a good sport is important lessons that will reverberate long after they’ve grown up, become adults and entered the world of work and relationships. It’s one of the basic lessons that is easy to overlook but can have lasting negative effects if not taught. Whatever your system, be it rewarding them with stickers, custom pins or hugs, just make sure you commit to it.

First And Foremost, Make Sure They’re Having Fun
At the end of the day, if your kids are not enjoying the activity, they’re not going to learn anything. It’s important to listen to your children and their interests from early on in order to know what their definition of fun is. If your children beg you to participate in something, that’s a great sign for something they’ll enjoy and will be open to learning the rules of.

Be Encouraging
It’s one thing for your kids to participate, it’s another thing altogether for you to encourage them into doing their best. Always offer up positive words and appreciate their efforts. Remind them that it’s not about winning but having fun. Trying and giving effort is what you want to see, not an overriding desire to be the best. Make sure you’re keeping conversations easy-going and light.

Teach Them to Be Encouraging
You’ve heard of Paying It Forward? Well this is a bit like that. Children have nurturing sides just like adults. They want to help those who need it so encourage that. If your son can aide his younger sister to do well and that is nurtured by you, he can pass that desire on to friends and teammates as well. Making sure that everyone is taking turns, celebrating everyone’s efforts and supporting one another is what it’s all about.

Share Rewards
If you are going to offer some kind of reward or prize in a competition, make sure that everyone gets something. If you order custom pins, make sure everyone gets one. If you have stickers, everyone should get one. Even trophies and badges should be distributed to everyone. You can have bigger trophies for the winners but you want to make sure that everyone feels like they’ve earned something. Winners should congratulate everyone else too.

Be a Great Example
The most obvious thing you can do is be a good sport yourself. Your children will take so much of how to conduct themselves from you. If you taunt others, make it all about winning and act like a sore loser, you’re sending the message that those things are okay to your children. Even if it feels silly, make sure you’re always congratulating others, high-fiving, leading “good game” cheers and remaining positive throughout competition.


Mercedes Potter is an elite writer who blogs about various subjects. In this post, she gives parents some ideas on how to encourage goos sportsmanshop with their children. Follow her @CedesPotter to see what else she’s been blogging about.