I’ve partnered with Dynacraft for this post.
Lately we’ve noticed something about Jacob — he is VERY competitive. It’s not too surprising since Orin and I are both fairly competitive ourselves. And while being competitive is a perfectly fine trait in my opinion, learning how to lose with grace and be a good sport is something that all competitive children must learn. We’ve had a few instances in the past where Jacob would melt down over losing a game of Uno or Candy Land, but his competitive nature really let loose recently when Jacob received a brand new 12 inch Thomas and Friends bike from Dynacraft and started riding bikes with Maggie.
Maggie has had her Dynacraft Shopkins bike for a few months now, so she’s had lots of time to practice, plus she’s older. Jacob was SO excited about his new bike and couldn’t wait to get out on the road with Maggie. It wasn’t long after they started pedaling that Maggie suggested they race. Jacob quickly agreed and they were off.
As Maggie passed him, he started to get so upset he became frantic and started backpedaling, engaging the brakes, locking up his bike and nearly flipping himself over. She won the race and it just crushed him. He cried and yelled about how it wasn’t fair.
I pulled Jacob to the side and we had a little chat about competition. I explained to him that it was okay for him to be sad, but not okay to yell at his sister because he didn’t win. To be honest, it didn’t go over real well that first time. They raced again, he lost again, and he got upset again. And again, and again. This has probably been one of the hardest lessons for Jacob to learn, but it’s such an important one!
Two weeks in with races nearly every day and Jacob has improved quite a bit! He still wants to win, but he’s finally starting to realize that you win some and you lose some. You can’t be the best at everything! He’s discovered that yes, his big sister Maggie, right now, can usually beat him on their bikes, BUT he’s a faster runner (both if Maggie is on foot or on her bike). He’s so proud of that and it’s a good reminder when he loses at other competitions. It’s something we will continue to work on every day because it’s a real-world skill that is SO important — plus, it’s great to get them outside exercising in the fresh air!
Is your little one struggling to grasp the concept of losing gracefully? Here are some tips I’ve learned:
- Sympathize with your child. Let them know that you understand they are disappointed when they lose and that it’s okay to be sad but it’s not okay to throw a tantrum.
- Correct your child when they are showing bad sportsmanship. When Jacob threw a tantrum because he did not win, he wasn’t allowed to participate in any more races for a set period of time that day (Usually he’d have to take a seat in the driveway for about 5 minutes to cool off). If it occurred a second time, he could not participate any more that day.
- Teach your child to congratulate his competition when he loses.
- Teach him to be a gracious winner when he wins.
- Remind him of the things he’s very good at. For Jacob, it’s running. He’s a fast little guy!
- When playing games with your child, don’t always let them win. It’s important that they go through the experience of losing because, in the real world, it’s bound to happen!
Before I wrap up this post, I know some of you have a Thomas and Friends fan like me and you’re thinking that this bike might make a great Christmas present this year. YES, yes it would! Jacob has LOVED it! This Dynacraft bike is a 12 inch bike recommended for kids ages 2-4. Jacob turned 4 in May and I think the age range is spot on, maybe even up to age 5 for an average sized boy. The training wheels are adjustable and fully removable once your little one has mastered his balance. Jacob’s favorite feature is that there’s a button at the front you can push that makes Thomas talk and toot his whistle. You can find it at Toys”R”Us. It’s perfect for your Thomas and Friends enthusiast!