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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Letting Toddlers Win

Letting Toddlers Win

Playing board games or card games with your toddler is not just a great way to pass the time and bond, it is also an excellent opportunity for you to teach them about losing graciously, getting over disappointment, winning graciously and building self-confidence.

Instead of leaving the outcome of the game up to chance, it is important that you keep in mind that you need to allow your child to win sometimes as well as lose sometimes. Each outcome will lead to the opportunity to teach different skills.

If you allow your child to win every time they will never learn how to handle disappointment. They will also develop a one-sided view of game playing and maybe never develop the drive to be competitive. When they do win, however, you need to use the opportunity to teach your children how to win graciously. Show them how to be good winners by instructing them to congratulate you on trying, have them shake your hand or give you a hug. Show them how to be humble.

Losing the game opens up a different set of lessons. When your child loses the game, he will develop coping skills and the skills necessary to try harder the next time. You can also use this time to teach your children how to handle losing. Show them the appropriate way to take out their frustration. Teach them to control their anger. And most importantly instruct them in ways in which they can congratulate the winner.

To get the most out of your game playing time, it is probably best to allow your child to win at least seventy-five percent of the time. Since children handle winning better, those lessons will be easier to teach. Plus, winning gives them self-confidence that they can use in other areas of their lives.

When deciding to have your child lose, it is best to first gauge his or her attitude. If your child has just won three times in a row, they will probably be better able to handle a loss. If the game is new and they are slightly frustrated with the rules, it is probably best to let them a few times first to increase their comfort level. If the game seems too easy for them, it is probably am excellent time to beat them so that they can begin developing a tougher strategy and increasing their problem-solving skills.


As with any lesson, it is also important to take into account your child's personality and limits. If you already have a highly competitive child, then it may be best to choose games without a clear winner until you have a chance to work on their coping skills.

Another thing to consider is your spouse's or older children's style of play. If your younger child always loses to them when playing it is probably best if you let them win with you all most all of the time. Of course, the best plan for this situation would be to explain the process to your spouse and children so that they also occasionally let the younger child win.


Once your child reaches school age, usually around five or six years of age, it will be the right time to play more fairly and leave the winner up to chance. By this time your child should have acquired the skills necessary to win or lose with grace. But keep in mind that if your child is trying to play a more complex game, or one that is intended for older children, you may need to revert back to letting him win occasionally.




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