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Infant - Month #45

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The Race Goes On

By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

Your Good Sport
           You're playing a game of Memory, taking turns matching the cards and creating your own pile of matches to be counted at the end of the game. Your child continuously tries to skip your turn by grabbing two or three matches at a time. When the game is complete, he quickly scrambles all of the cards, including all of your matches, and claims he is the winner! Sound familiar? Now is a great opportunity to teach him that winning isn't everything!


An Eye On The Issue
           At this age, kids will naturally want to be the fastest, the quickest, and the best at everything they do from eating to running. They truly believe that winning is the only way to complete an activity, and they have no problem vocalizing their excitement through cheers and squeals or their grief with tantrums and tears. The positive attention they so desire through hugs, praise, and applause creates a comfortable atmosphere and boosts their self-esteem. They feel that the opposite result could show signs of their failure even if their abilities aren't to blame. If a child doesn't come out on top, he may stomp his feet or whine while inventing new rules to turn the win in his direction. He might even refuse to play and/or leave the activity all together.       

       To change your child's perception, try ignoring the final result of the activity or interact in activities that don't offer a winner. Simply encourage your child to do his personal best because that is what will matter most in the end. Be sure to acknowledge his disappointments and let him know it's normal to feel upset. Getting him to focus on the future optimistically by discussing hopes ahead rather than the past is important for a positive outlook on life in general. Competitive opportunities are important, but learning to play fair while respecting your friends and family is more important. Therefore, give some non-competitive activities a try now and again, and be sure to praise, praise, and praise your child often.


Just Try It
           Need some ideas for encouraging your child to play for fun rather than to win? These winning strategies for family fun are sure to create a safe and non-competitive atmosphere for you and your child. The best part about all of these activities is the togetherness you get with your child as you laugh, sing, and cheer each other on.       
  • Memory-use a timer to work together to find all matches, decreasing the time each game
  • Hokey Pokey
  • Simon Says
  • Follow the leader
  • Squeeze tag-if you get caught, you have to give each other a hug
  • Beach blanket volleyball
  • Word search puzzles
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Mazes around the yard, in the house, or on paper
  • Freeze frame with music
  • Treasure hunt for missing toy parts
  • Charades or Pictionary
  • 20 questions using animals, superheroes or princesses, or movies
  • Dominos the game or set up a path and watch them fall
  • Tower-building with blocks-how high can we make it-measure with a yard stick
  • Tennis ball toss
  • I Spy indoors or outdoors
  • Magic 8 Ball questions
  • Mastermind for Kids-work together to guess what Daddy placed on the game board
  • Educational computer games
  • Balloon toss: with or without water


Parent Chit-Chat
           Playing games with our son is a natural part of our day. From board games to touch football games, we are always encouraging imaginative and physical play time. Lately, however, we've noticed an increase in tantrums, tears, and a giving-up attitude. This is because he isn't always winning . . . now that he's older! We made the mistake as he was growing of allowing him to win because we wanted to create a positive experience for him.  As he continued to understand the objective and the rules of the games we were playing, we began playing competitively, which led to the onset of these unbearable tantrums.  In hindsight, we should have been up-front with him about the feelings that winning and losing evoke because we realized how our actions were setting him up for disappointments now that he plays competitively with his friends. His friends won't let him win, so he often storms off and quits playing with his friends altogether.

       Our new focus is on non-competitive activities mixed with competitive ones, too. We will always enjoy a game of basketball on the court with the neighbors, but a game of Superhero Memory is the highlight of our evenings together. The object of our new version of this game is to turn all of the cards over, set a timer, and work together to find all of the matches before the timer goes off. We try to beat our own time, therefore setting goals for ourselves rather than creating a winner or a loser. We also enjoy batting a balloon around the living room counting the number of times we can hit it without letting it drop to the floor where his little brother can slobber all over it. This game gets us giggling every time. No matter the result, whenever my son and I finish playing any kind of game, we have a rule that we must congratulate each other for a job well done whether it is with a simple high five, some sort of verbal recognition, or a giant hug. I let him pick how we congratulate each other so he feels ownership of the positive gesture. We've also found that setting an example for our son is important, too, because as he sees us comfortable with losing, he slowly begins to understand that winning isn't everything!


Book Basket
           Open the pages of these unique learning books aimed for young readers!
  • Biscuit Wins A Prize!; Alyssa Satin Capucilli; Pat Schories
  • Big Win; Spongebob Squarepants; Kelli Chipponeri
  • I Like to Win! Real Kids Readers Series; Charnan Simon
  • Thomas and Friends: May the Best Engine Win!; Golden Books
  • Alfie Wins a Prize; Shirley Hughes
  • Winning Isn't Everything!; Jennifer Moore-Malinos
  • The Winning Basket; Cecillia Minden
  • The Big Tee Ball Game; Larry Dane Brimner
  • Sam is Not a Loser; Thierry Robberecht
  • Surf's Up: Winning Wave; N.T. Raymond
  • Bluffalo Wins His Great Race!; Babette Douglas


Exploration Station

       Spend a little quiet time together working on these math puzzles and activities created for your preschooler. Allow these math activities to trickle into your play time as you count the number of times you hit a balloon in the air without it falling to the ground or count backwards from ten while you skip or walk backwards in the yard!


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