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You are here: Home > Toddlers > Parenting

The Need to Compete

by Heidi Hoff | 0 Comments

It's Friday night and your family is gathered around the kitchen table, a game of Snakes and Ladders at the center of the excitement. The game is almost over and Nancy, your four-year-old daughter, has moved her chair away from the table. Nancy is not winning, and the look on her face tells you that it won't be long before she explodes into her usual tantrum over not being a good enough player and always being the loser.

Nancy is a competitive child and no matter how hard you try to explain that it doesn't matter who wins or loses, she still finds it hard to accept defeat. Your six-year-old son on the other hand is fine whether he wins or loses.

So why are some children so competitive and others not? One of the reasons you might notice your preschooler's desire to jump higher or run faster is because it's normal behavior for his age group. He may be socializing with more children and many times play dates turn into a mini Olympics with one trying to out do all the others.

What if your child's constant competitive behavior is bordering on the obsessive? There may be many reasons for that and you will have to look at what's happening within your own family for the answer. Often a younger sibling may be the most competitive in the family, trying to outdo older ones to prove that anything his older brother or sisters can do, he can do better.

Sometimes parents instill a competitive attitude in their children without even knowing it. "Just get on the bike again, I'm sure you'll ride it this time. Just look at Jane, she's younger than you and she's riding her bicycle, without training wheels!" A parent's competitive nature might have been inherited from his own family. He may also be living vicariously through his child and push him into playing sports for example, when as a child he may have been less than a star player.

One way to take the competitive edge off of your child is to practice accepting defeat. Help her focus on doing the best she can do, not try to out perform everyone else. Explain to her that the most important thing about playing a game or running a race is having fun and that other children enjoy playing with a gracious loser, not a sore one.

Board Games for Preschoolers #btitle#Family Game Night

Heidi Hoff, Editor, Preschool Planet.
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