Competition is a natural part of life; to a degree, it’s even something that animals naturally do too. When approached in a positive way, it can be a valuable tool for personal growth and development.

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But there needs to be a super strong emphasis on it being healthy though. As parents, cultivating friendly competition in our children can teach them essential life skills such as teamwork, resilience, and sportsmanship. 

Even when it comes to video games, traditional games (like board games), or even something like sports, there can be friendly competition. While you can’t control how others are, you can at least teach your little one the importance of being friendly and not taking this competition too seriosuly. So, with all of that said, here’s how you can spark up some friendly competition with your children!

Emphasize the Effort Over the Outcome

They need to understand that it’s just a game; it doesn’t really matter. For the most part, the rewards aren’t even that high or big, and they’re usually just bragging rights at best. A good place to start might be old-fashioned games with them, like checkers or winter chess. It’s not like you’re in some major competition to win some huge prize, so getting them to understand that it’s only about the effort (since the outcome itself doesn’t really matter) is usually a good place to start. 

So, it’s going to be best to just go ahead and teach your child that the effort they put into a task is more important than the end result. Why not encourage them to set personal goals and focus on self-improvement rather than comparing themselves to others? This mindset shift helps children understand that success is a journey, not just a destination.

Lead By Example

One thing you really need to keep in mind is that children often model their behavior after their parents. So you’ll need to demonstrate good sportsmanship, humility, and a positive attitude, both in victory and defeat. Plus, you should show them that competition is not about tearing others down but about pushing ourselves to do our best. Whether you’re playing with them or taking time out to play video games with people online, you seriously have to model good behavior so they can pick it up. 

Celebrate All Achievements

Something else as a parent that you really need to do is to just create an atmosphere where success, no matter how small, is celebrated. This is truly the best way to really show that competition can be friendly and doesn’t need to be a big deal either. So, why not just go ahead and acknowledge and praise the accomplishments of all children involved? This alone helps foster a sense of camaraderie rather than a cutthroat environment. On top of that, this helps kids understand that everyone has unique strengths and talents.

Encourage Team Activities

Something else you should really look into would be to just introduce your child to team sports and group activities. Something to think about is the fact that team environments teach cooperation, communication, and the importance of working together toward a common goal. Plus, you should emphasize that success is a collective effort, and each team member contributes to the overall achievement.

They Need to Understand That Failure Isn’t Bad

Really, it’s not the worst thing in the world. Plus, failure is an inevitable part of life, and learning how to cope with it is a crucial skill. Everyone deals with this at least once in their life. So, you need to help your child see setbacks as opportunities for growth. Plus, it’s really going to help to discuss what they can learn from the experience and how they can apply those lessons in future endeavors.

You’ll Need to Set Realistic Expectations

Everyone needs to be realistic, and it’s something children need to learn about earlier in life. So, go ahead and encourage your child to set realistic and achievable goals. Unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration and a negative perception of competition. Help them break larger goals into smaller, manageable steps, promoting a sense of accomplishment along the way.

Rivalry Can Be Healthy

Just because you’re playing against someone doesn’t mean they’re the enemy, and kids really need to understand this when they’re young. So, as the parent, you’ll need to foster positive rivalries that encourage friendly competition without animosity. Plus, you should try to teach your child to view competitors as friends who inspire them to push their limits and improve. This mindset shift helps them understand that healthy competition is about personal growth rather than defeating others.