At our school, new parents are given a talk about what their children need to know before they start reception.
No, they don’t need to know their letters, and how to write their names. They will be taught how to do these things. In reception the teachers are more concerned whether their young charges can open their lunch boxes and put their coats on themselves. We were also told one of the most useful things a year R child can come to school doing, is knowing how to share and being able to lose without a fuss.
Of course, these skills are nothing new. In our day, we learnt the art of losing gracefully by playing board games with our families. We do have board games in our house, but the skill and cunning of our older children mean we are no longer able to trounce them. So they only learn how to be bad winners, and remain bad losers as well.
So we’ve turned to computer games. Or, more accurately, iPad/Android/WiiU/X Box AND computer games. There is an element of chance as well as skill with these games and the winners and losers seem to be more evenly spread out.
Often the kids play individually against the computer, and seem to roll with the punches more easily when they aren’t competing with their siblings.
But they prefer to play some of these games together. Games such as Mario Karts and Wii Party are very popular and there is lot of discussion ( yelling) and negotiation ( more yelling) among them about whose turn it is to do certain tasks and win prizes. Our kids are a lot more competitive when playing against each other, instead of a machine. There is a lot more angst when the game ends and the winners and losers are announced.
I’m pleased to say the older two are now usually quite stoic about losing, and make a big deal of it so the younger two feel like they have achieved something. It has taken quite a few years to get to this stage.
But when it comes to the younger children; I’m afraid when one of them loses, we still end up with them doing this. It’s always a good idea to make sure they use the wrist strap on the Wiimote.
Learning to lose gracefully is a slow process in this house.