A Winning Formula For Competitive Children

01 May Ayesha Farhad 0 Comments

Competition is part of growing up and whilst there has been some movement recently to try and shield children from competition so that ‘everyone is a winner’ the truth is kids love competition as much as adults and they can thrive on knowing that their effort and skill has been rewarded by success.  However competition can put undue pressure on children too and evidence suggests that children today have more pressure to excel than any other generation.  So how do you strike the balance between healthy competition that celebrates talent and not playing the expectation game that ruins any sense of fun and achievement your youngster may get from their activity of choice.  Read on for some sound advice on how to keep your children motivated whilst keeping them positive and above all happy.

1. Family values

Your family probably has some core values that it holds dear and that your children understand are at the heart of everything you do together.  These might be things like kindness, sharing, honesty and respect.  Part of keeping your children motivated towards success without piling on the pressure is to help them understand how these values can be applied to the things they love doing outside the home such as a sport or playing a musical instrument. If they understand success as being able to share their skills, support others and being true to their passion for their activity they are less likely to feel the pressure or desire to win every time. Support this understanding by demonstrating these core values yourself by being respectful of your child’s need to practise, and kindness and compassion if and when things don’t go to plan.  Celebrate every success, particularly those that are effort rather than outcome based. Family values are also important for helping your child get through the failures and losses by concentrating on the things they did well and how they can use this to achieve in the future.


2. Allow room for happiness

Help your child to discover all the ways their chosen activity adds happiness to their lives. Whether it is the group of friends that their sport has given them or being able to make music for personal pleasure or to entertain friends and family. It is easy to get totally focussed on the timing needed for training sessions or the money required for equipment in order for them to compete that the actual joy of the activity gets lost. Encourage an attitude of taking part and enjoying the process rather than the outcome and you will allow room for happiness in whatever activity your child has chosen.

3. Build Confidence

Getting your child interested in an activity outside of school can really help to boost their confidence and independence as they learn a new skill and make new friends.  However if it is an activity that requires performance this can add a lot of unnecessary pressure and stress. You can help build your child’s confidence by attending performances and games and being a familiar face for those moments when they need reassuring. If you demonstrate strong and solid support by not only turning up but getting involved in their interests they will have an ally whatever happens. Smart ideas include volunteering at games or competitions, getting personal when it comes to crowd support with a family designed banner or t-shirt from Totshirts.co.uk or helping to keep equipment clean and in working order. Finally if confidence stops them from performing at their best help them by encouraging practice in front of smaller audiences where they feel safe and nurtured.

Trophy from trophies2u.co.uk

4. Passion and competition is ok

Competition and a desire to win can be seen as selfish and not a nice trait to encourage in your growing child. However a desire to win is positive for a successful future as long as it is seen within the context of personal celebration and success and not at the expense of others. One of the greatest things you can teach your child then is how to balance their enthusiasm and competitive mindset with compassion and understanding for those that haven’t achieved what they have worked so hard to do. It is just as important for them to be good winners and it is to be good losers. Sit down with your child and reflect on how it feels to lose out and how they can use that experience to have empathy for those that they may beat in the future.  Also teach them how to celebrate with dignity and pride without hurting the feelings of others.

5. Help them to stay positive

It is difficult for adults to stay motivated if they are finding a particular activity challenging or have had a run of failures that is difficult to move past.  Imagine then how it feels for your child to keep positive when they might not have the emotional maturity to deal with challenges. You can help to keep your child positive and motivated by helping them to find other ways of approaching a challenge and mixing up their training to give them a new perspective on their skills.  If your child is beginning to lose enthusiasm for their favourite sport for example it could be that they just need to have a more varied training routine. If it’s a team sport try encouraging them to do something on their own perhaps or get them to sign up for a unique event such as a sponsored bike ride or run to help them stay fit and do something worthwhile. This might be the inspiration they need to return to their chosen activity with a renewed sense of enthusiasm. Maintaining a positive attitude within family life will also help to keep your child working towards their goal. You can do this by working with your child to set long and short term goals and identifying your role in helping your child to realise these. If you approach the activity with positivity and purpose so will your child.