“Learning to Lose”

Losing doesn’t make us losers. Well said, Elizabeth. When children learn how to lose they develop life skills. A hug along the way lets them know it’s okay. Elizabeth’s post is spot on. I play Sorry with children all the time, and it’s an opportunity to teach those life skills.

Saved By Words

I have played hundreds of board and card games as the oldest child of four, as a mother and as a grandmother. In all of these activities there is a winner and often several losers. One of the truths I have observed over the years is that we have to learn how to lose. Or, more importantly, how not to be what my father always referred to as a “sore loser.”

We learn this skill slowly. Usually we “let” the littlest players win as they learn a new game. But after a while we begin to let them lose occasionally if that is how the game is going. When that happens we are sure to hear a variety of complaints, most often “that isn’t fair” or “you cheated.” No one likes the feeling of losing a game and the easiest way to stop those feelings is to blame the other…

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About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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31 Responses to “Learning to Lose”

  1. Mireya says:

    good lesson

  2. That is probably to the MOST important lesson kids can learn in life and to lose and be a good sport about it. Let it be part of the fun. I never played games as a child but my kids did and wanted them to learn to lose gracefully. You are a good teacher to see that need.

    • Jennie says:

      As soon as I read Elizabeth’s post I knew how important it was to share this, and let others know that learning to losing is such an important lesson. It’s akin to kindness and giving. When I see athletes stomp off the field or throw something I feel sorry that they never learned.

  3. Carla says:

    Such an important lesson for everyone to learn. My grandson used to get very upset when he got “sorryed” of “troubled”, but now, he is fine because he knows that you can’t always win. Of course we never say someone lost, they just didn’t win. He will say, it’s okay grandma, I lost this time, but last time I won.

  4. easy to win,hard to lose

  5. Ritu says:

    Such an important lesson to learn…

  6. beetleypete says:

    Good reblog, Jennie. I had already left a comment on Elizabeth’s post.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      It hit a nerve with me, Pete, and Elizabeth said it very well. It’s so important for children to learn losing, otherwise they become spoiled and self centered adults. It’s part of kindness and sharing, too. I’ll head over to Elizabeth’s post and read your comment. Best to you, Pete.

  7. Norah says:

    Learning how to lose is a very important life lesson. Good share, Jennie.

  8. Dan Antion says:

    I remember the first time I played Sorry with our daughter. She had so much fun sending me back to Start.

  9. never too early to learn and my how appropriately timely – (!)

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I was honored to have you repost my piece. Thank you so much for introducing me to a whole new batch of readers who stopped in to comment.

  11. Thanks for sharing, Jennie.
    It’s such an important thing to learn. The life lessons gained can make us much stronger of character than if we kept winning all the time.

  12. You can’t always win and you won’t always lose. We need to teach children this at a young age. I often feel that parents do kids a huge disservice if they never let them lose, teach them to lose. It’s ok if your child is disappointed, upset or saddened by losing… this is part of life. wouldn’t you rather they learn to be gracious losers and learn to enjoy the process… the game than get to a point where they can’t handle losing?

  13. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, thank you for an excellent post. When children are just a bit older, chess also teaches these lessons.

  14. Thank you for the best lesson we can learn.

  15. Pingback: “Learning to Lose” – A of D News

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