Accepting the Competition

It’s no big secret that kids love to win.  At some point during the transition from toddler to preschooler, most kids learn that there are winners and non-winners when playing games and participating in races.


And while some parents go to great lengths to avoid all forms of competition, it’s nearly impossible to completely avoid competition.


And, as it turns out, not really necessary.


Kids can learn a lot from losing a game or two (or ten…).


My five year old daughter plays in the town soccer league here.  I’m not sure what the magic age is when they start keeping score, but at this stage the league is considered “non-competitive”.


The girls are placed on teams of six and play on small fields with very cute and very small goals.  There are no goalies, and “no standing in the goal” is one of the few rules of play.


It’s sweet and fun and the girls get some great exercise, learn a few skills, and, most importantly, forge new friendships throughout the season.


That’s what I tell myself, anyway.


While my daughter was placed on a team with a coach who really just wants the girls to enjoy the game, there seem to be some very competitive teams out there.


I mentioned that the kids are five, right?


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About Katie

Katie Hurley is a Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She works in private practice in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, writes for PBS Parents, Washington Post Parents, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World" (Tarcher/Penguin, 2015) and "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" (Penguin Random House, 2018)