We have made it through another week. Great job! As we head into the weekend, we hope you are able to take a break from less preferred tasks and can enjoy some fun time with your family. Playing games can be such a great way to stay engaged with each other in a positive way, it can be a great way to break up these long days, and it can lead to lots of fun and laughter. Today’s focus skill is being a good sport. A good sport means that a person is able to remain safe, respectful, responsible, and helpful whether they win or lose. Three steps include:
Getting calm (using any previous skill)
Using kind words
Using kind actions
Below are some examples that can be used. Within your own home with your children you may still be using high fives and handshakes, however thumbs up or fist bumps may be a better approach to decrease the exposure of germs.
Suggestions for using this skill:
● Not all activities have to have a winner and the goal of all activities does not have to involve being better than others. Riding bikes, climbing trees, or doing an art project can easily turn into competitions. Balance competitive activities with doing things just for enjoyment.
● Reinforce whenever you see your child being a good sport (whether he/she wins or loses). This could also relate to not getting a treat first, not getting the color cup that was wanted, etc.
● Provide a preset of the purpose of games (one goal is to win but another purpose is to spend time together and to have fun). Games are often not fun when people aren’t being good sports.
● Notice and reinforce when your child is able to compliment a family member who is doing well in an activity even when he/she is not being as successful.
● Discuss possible outcomes of the game prior to starting the game (ex. we could win or lose) and make a plan for using skills when frustrated. Ask your child what he/she can do to get calm and what kind words and actions could be used.
● Identify phrases to use when not winning (these could be silly or humorous)
● Discuss the impact of being a good sport when winning occurs (using a friendly smile rather than telling people that they won over and over). Sometimes our intention of being humorous (ex. making comments about being the best) when winning can cause others to feel upset.
● Point out the impact of being a good sport. It creates a sense of connection, enjoyment, and overall sense of calm that is needed right now.
Taking the time to practice these skills at home will lead to lots of laughs and wonderful memories. Children will eventually use these good sports skills we they back to their normal routines that may include athletic competitions, auditions or tryouts, or competitive school-related tasks. They will be better equipped to handle these situations with all of their current practice.
Take the time to truly enjoy and appreciate each other this weekend without the additional tasks that occur during the week!