Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Not Who Wins......or Loses....

It's taking the time to play the game that makes us all winners.


Like many parents, I often struggle to find my inner child, and the desire to play that comes with it. When home with Sugar Bear, we sometimes find ourselves going a bit stir crazy. She misses her playmates at preschool, and I simply can not "play" all day. There are times when I really wish I could. I try...and try...but usually within 20 minutes, I am bored to tears. I find this particularly the case with imaginative play. It is like my "play brains" fell out somewhere along the way, and I am left clueless.

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To combat this feeling of inadequacy, I often purchase some sort of GAME for Sugar when gift time comes around. I have found that games are the EXCEPTION, when it comes to play. I can easily play some sort of game with Sugar Bear for as long as her little heart desires. It isn't entirely painless, but I do think it is well worth it.

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For her Birthday, I purchased this fun game called, Zingo. There were some pretty great deals on games during the holiday season. I actually stocked up. There are some pretty SWEET games waiting for Sugar to mature a little. woo hoo!!

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This game is FUN! Sugar loves the cool plastic dispenser, and I love seeing her joy. She always has the distinguished honor of sliding the dispenser forward and then back to reveal the next two pictures.


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The idea is for all players to watch carefully, and call out when they see a picture they need. The first one to call out the picture gets it. There is a penalty of some sort if you call out something you don't need, but I can't recall what it is, as it hasn't been an issue for us, yet. In fact, Sugar likes to call out the things I need as well, "OOOOO mama you need the house!" It is pretty cute. In an effort to maintain a nice level of happiness for all players, I have to find a nice balance of winning and losing. Let's face it...it is hard for a 4 year old to handle losing.....


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But it certainly wouldn't do her any good, if I ALWAYS let her win. I have heard great discussions regarding whether a parent should let a child win or not, and have formed my own opinions on the matter. I feel that it is part of parenting to teach a child how to enjoy the game regardless of who wins or loses, and this can't be done by beating the pants off them EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. And let's face it....I could totally TAKE her if I wanted to. Tee Hee.

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Instead, throughout the process of the game, we talk about how much fun we are having, ("I'm so happy to be playing this game with you!" and labeling the feelings we have along the way ("Oh man.....I keep forgetting what pictures I need. That's frustrating!". When I lose, I try to model an appropriate losing behavior ("WOW! You sure did a great job calling out those pictures quickly! Maybe I'll win next time."), and when I win, I take the effort to model good sportsmanship ("Good game, Sugar! Let's play again. I love playing games with you!").

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Over time, I have seen Sugar Bear grow in her abilities to handle the emotions that go along with playing games. I like to think that along with entertaining ourselves, we are making an emotional connection, and learning about life.

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It doesn't matter who wins of loses......it's being blessed enough to play together.

11 Live It or Love It:

Gayle said...

Well, aren't you amazing?! That was about as text book as it gets...good for you for teaching Sugar the "right" way to win and lose. We, on-the-other-hand, are an extemely competive family. Too competitive I suppose (otherwise we wouldn't have spent tens of thousands of dollars for our boys to play hockey last winter). Monopoly at our house sucks because if you get tired there is no such thing as quitting! I love your story about you and Sugar Bear. (And yes...it's a bit like Peter Pan and Wendy and growing up and forgetting how to play...although men generally never grow up and are always like Peter Pan!)

Veggie Mom said...

First of all, Happy Birthday to Sticker Gal! I love the range of emotions in these photos...first the anticipation, then the concentration (even when you don't feature her face, I can tell she's intent on figuring this out!), and last, the silliness and joy. A job well done, as always. BTW, I Shouted You Out in yesterday's post. Enjoy!

Autumn said...

OMG I feel that same way. Give me an actual game and I'm good. But imagination just lets my mind think of all the other things I would rather be doing. Bad mommy... I also let Bug win but now that he's getting older he can actually kick my butt in crazy eights so I'm upping my game. LOL

Tabitha Blue said...

That sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day in the house!! It's so true... kids need to learn both emotions. I love how it all shows through your photos!!

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I hate the imaginative game play as well. I'm glad my kids are old enough now to enjoy games.

We've been playing a lot of Go Fish and Dominos lately and my 6 year old has a hard time with being a good sport when he loses. However, I am finding that the more practice he gets at becoming a gracious loser, the better he is at it.

I would love to let him win all the time just because it makes him so happy but I'm like you, I think it would be a huge disservice to him.

Jeanette said...

What a lovely game that is!

Christina said...

Well said, indeed! They need to learn how to win AND lose graciously...and have fun along the way.

Oh, and? I totally know what you mean about having forgotten how to play. Sigh.

holly said...

TOTALLY agree with you. i hated being always beaten, and similarly, when i later found out he was letting me win all the time, i was very disillusioned by it.

play for playing. that is a lesson my parents never learned, and so could not teach me. i will beat it into them, but by then, they will have dementia and think i'm a woman named phenelope.

ispeakbeanish said...

I agree!

PS. I'm going to have to look for that game. It looks like one The Bean would enjoy!

Childlife said...

Doesn't matter what rules you play by either Corey -- imaginary or otherwise. You are one AWESOME mommy! :D

Michelle said...

We have that game too and Kayla really likes it as well...and she also calls out what everyone else needs :) What a great idea on incorporating talking about feelings while playing the game!

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