Ever been in the situation where you are playing a really fun and exciting game with your kids, all is super, all are involved and laughing?! Then the inevitable happens, someone wins, and well, someone else loses! All the fun is suddenly gone, and mayhem erupts!

In fact, why not reflect a bit longer right here, and review how you are generally dealing with losing! No, just kidding! Anyway.

Learning curve – The simple matter is, one should learn that one loses once in a while. The sooner that is taken on board, the easier for all involved and does not spoil the fun for the other players. And then there is concept of  being a good role model for the younger ones!  Also dealing with loosing in a balanced way,  for the ones who are really competitive, allows to reflect on the game and prepare for the next one.

Yes, I am talking about the lessons learned or the learning curve! Many times we have tried to explain to our daughter that only by buying properties in Monopoly will she make the big money; simply hoarding money and not investing it, will not. It has taken half a dozen games, but now she is unbeatable and it is a joy watching her carefully reviewing her investments! In fact, I frequently had to borrow money from her so to avoid bankruptcy and we have now changed the rules to prohibit this poor behaviour of mine! I guess I have to work on my learning curve – as I do not seem to be prepared to admit defeat!

Of course one’s behaviour when losing very much depends on the social context one is playing (and losing) in.  So let’s look at a couple of situations and options how to deal with them. Before we go into detail it is worth noting that kids will, in most cases, react differently when parents are nearby. Meaning they might be less brave when knowing they can retreat into their comfort zone, as into your instant embrace.

Playing at a kids’ party – let’s assume you are playing musical chairs and the first contender drops out. The younger the player, the bigger the pain of losing. What works well is that you involve the kids by showing them how to press the start and stop button on the music device. All the power of the game is now in their hands and at the end everyone wants to press these buttons!

Playing at school or kindergarten – most likely the best habitat to learn how to deal with losing and winning when in a group. Yes there will be unfair situations, and yes if it gets out of hand, guidance by a teacher is needed, but generally it sets the ground rules which to build on. Listen to your kids when they explain to you how things are worked out at the school or kindergarten!

Opt out – not only used in European politics occasionally (sorry that was a given, considering I studied European Studies) but also a good tool when choosing games. Either you agree on a game all want to play (and yes that means making concessions from time to time) or opt out and do not to play at all. Third option is to support another player which allows you to partake in the overall dynamic of the game.

The Rabbit wishes you a fun time playing games and remember how to lose, and for that matter, how to win! After all it is the time together that counts! And yes saying ‘Sorry’ helps as does accepting it!

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