Is the gambling just bad when you lose

To lose in a game

I have just received the specimen copy of “Leben & Erziehing” with a statement from me on the subject “Should you let a child win in a game”. I come across this question again and again at parents' evenings, so I'll include it here right away.

Have fun and learn while playing

Games are a kind of reflection of real life - there are rules that everyone should adhere to so that the game is fun and sometimes one wins and sometimes the other. When children play, they learn such basic things and therefore it is important that they play. It is not for nothing that the inventor of kindergartens, Friedrich Froebel, called play the most important activity for children. Board games in particular train skills such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, which children need to write numbers and letters. I'm not talking about concentration and perseverance, memory and logical thinking, these are important prerequisites and get better the more they are challenged.

Not all games are created equal

I'm sorry, but I'll come right away with one small caveat. It just occurred to me that many people today understand “game” to mean “computer game” or “game on the smartphone”, i.e. screen games. I don't mean them right now. You also have to follow the rules, no question about it, and one or the other game is occasionally okay, but there is a great danger: A screen game has no end or only one that is very far away. Even the simple PC card game that I love to play tells me how good or bad I was at the game compared to the best game. That spurs me on and - you may know that - you sit there for half an hour or more, paddling around senselessly. You don't learn anything except to move the cursor faster and faster or to press keys and at some point it is no longer fun because you are frustrated that you cannot achieve your own maximum number of points. I mean, when I speak of “game”, role-playing games like shop or vehicle fleet, board games like Mensch-ärgere-dich-nicht, card games like Mau-Mau, which is Uno today, or memory or other games with tangible materials on the table or ground to be played.

Lose in the game

But now to what I'm talking about here: Yes, your child should be able to lose in the game! Losing is an example of the disappointments life holds in store for everyone. You have to be able to deal with it, even if it's not nice. A child has to learn that first. That is why it is so important that not every wish is granted to him. Refusing a wish is a disappointment that it has to deal with. Everyone has their own way of looking around with disappointments or frustrations - one eats it in, the other discusses forever, the third paints, and yet another needs a punching bag to vent his anger. Your child has to find its shape, the best is of course to explain to yourself that disappointments do happen, but also successes and joy. Your child will only learn this in life if you explain to them that they have now unfortunately lost, but have won three games beforehand. By the way, your child is very much oriented towards you, watch how you deal with disappointments. Scold or say: That went stupid, but next time it will be better and yesterday I was successful for that.

Let children win in the game

That's why I don't think much of always letting children win. The emphasis is always on, because you don't want to take away the child's pleasure in playing. You should weigh up or choose games that you and your child are equally good at. Memory is such a game. For example, I've always been very good at it, but even as a young woman, not far from memory childhood, the children I looked after in kindergarten beat me. In the case of games that are heavily dependent on luck, you should also explain this, by the way. Children still think differently than we adults and believe that they can influence the result of the dice by skillfully rolling or throwing the dice.

Games without winners and losers

For a while there were games where there were no winners or losers, but the group played together against a common “enemy”. It seems to me that they have gone out of style. I still see them sometimes in kindergartens, but haven't seen them in toy stores for a long time. I've always been a little skeptical about these games, I have to admit. Sometimes the story was great and we had a lot of fun playing. But even so, the children felt like winners or losers - even if they weren't supposed to - or asked who won. But such games are of course well suited for children who first have to be carefully introduced to losing because they are used to their lives being without disappointment.

Does the ultimate game exist?

Apart from the classic games, I deliberately didn't mention any game titles in the post. Which game is fun for whom depends on the age and the other players, on the interests of the child and the taste. Yes, there are games that you don't like or especially because your favorite colors appear on the box or an animal that you particularly like. In my closet there are some games that are particularly suitable for learning, which I will list from time to time. But now I'm curious which games you recommend. Just post in the comment field 🙂

In my author blog I have started collecting classic children's and family games in case you need suggestions or feel like remembering. Links and descriptions are still missing, but you know most of the games, right?