“You don’t win silver. You lose gold” – most sports fanatics might have already heard this message in an advertisement that was aired during the Atlanta Olympics. These kinds of messages, combined with those parents that pushes their children too hard makes children think that “winning is everything”, making it even harder to teach sportsmanship to children.

The desire to win is natural, but you must also remind your child that winning is definitely not everything in the game. What matters most is how they performed during the game, regardless of whether they won or lost.


You should take note of these things if you want to teach sportsmanship to your children.

Be a Good Example to Your Child

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to be a good role model to your child. Your words and actions  can greatly affect the behavior of your children, so it is important to act appropriately when you’re with them. Offer praise and encouraging words for all athletes, regardless whether it’s your child’s teammate or opponent. When watching a sporting event, refrain from berating, teasing, or saying bad things to any athlete, coach or referee.

Observe Your Child’s Actions and Point Out What’s Wrong

When you see your child whining, crying or worse, fighting and trash talking with other athletes after a losing game, it is your responsibility as a parent to tell them that it’s wrong, and they should refrain from this kind of bad behavior. You should tell them that it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game that’s important.


Teach them these important principles

Sportsmanship is a very important life lesson a child can acquire from playing sports. If your child is currently taking part in any kind of sport, you should teach them these principles for them to develop good sportsmanship.

  • If they lose, they must not make up any excuses.
  • Never brag about winning
  • Learn from mistakes and get back in the game
  • Always do your best
  • When other athletes make mistakes, refrain from criticizing
  • Show respect to everyone

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