Why children should enter competitions

decorated egg chick

There is nothing like the word competition on a correspondence from school, to put me in a dilemma. I am competitive. Its true. Feels like I’ve revealed an ugly side of myself, but it’s true. I’ve learnt to rein it in now that I am older, but given half a chance I pull out all the stops and go for it. Big time! There are certain members of the family who still refuse to play a board game with me.

Then there are the children. My maternal instincts kick in to protect them. Words such as “failure” and “hurt” creep in. I don’t believe in competitions where everyone walks away with a medal. Life is not like that and it seems cruel to set this standard, but at the same time I hate to see them lose.

miniture flower garden

So it is a fine balance. They need to learn how to win, how to lose and how to be a good friend. So here are the mantras that we use to deal with competitions:

It’s not the winning, it’s the joining in. Taking part is fun, or it should be. If you don’t enter then there is no chance of winning.

Not everyone can win. Next time it may be your turn. Look to see what the winners did differently and remember for next time. (have mother take photos to study later)

Lose gracefully. This is a life skill in its own right and the good parent in me sees this as reason enough to join in. Bursting in to tears changes nothing. Nor does declaring loudly that the parents must have helped a lot. No! Congratulate the winner and move on. (murmuring under breath that you’ll beat them next time)

Win with grace. Whoop! Whoop! Fabulous that you won, but don’t forget your friends have feelings too.

Keep positive. There is always next time.

Do your best.

mini flower garden

Each year the children bring back a bag of bulbs from our local gardening club. The idea is to plant them and bring them on for the Spring show. Fortunately, there are other classes in the show to enter, as we have failed to produce a single flowering bulb in the eight years.

My competitive nature surfaces enough to nudge them to adopt competitive strategies. I can’t help myself. Over the years, I have learnt to step back. I’m there to help, but the children realise that there is little glory in winning if someone else did your best for you.


decorated eggs

Both TF and BL entered a couple of classes at the Spring show this weekend. We do each year. They each returned with winning certificates, but most importantly, they had so much fun joining in. They’ve even hinted that they’d like to enter the Summer show.

(Mother rolls up sleeves and flexes competitive muscles)



Joining in with Karen’s inspiring #LetKidsBeKids linky

9 thoughts on “Why children should enter competitions

  • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Hilarious Cheryl, and you are so right about competition.

    I am the complete opposite to you, which I think is equally bad! I told Emily at the weekend that as long as she had fun, then that was what counted. She turned around and said, ‘I worked hard at this Mummy. I want to do well, not just have fun’. Whoops 😳
    So I think whatever approach we take, our kids will find their own balance anyway.

    My favorite competition mantra is; ‘The person that won was the best at that moment on that day. In the exact same competition with the same people on a different day, someone else would win’. 😀

    • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      I like your mantra! *quickly squirrels away concept for next children’s competition* Emily is lovely. Glad she did well in her gymnastics. I wonder sometimes if the children teach me more than I teach them.

  • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Being competitive is not bad really. Like what you’ve said. I think too that it is a chance, competition is platformto show what you can do =)


    • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      I’d always encourage my children to do their best and I agree that sometimes the only way to show what can be done is through competition. It does encourage more success. Such as when someone is running faster than you. You’ll run a faster race yourself. There are some competitions which I would happily ban, but that is another story.

  • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Pep talk for me having lost very badly at my band contest at the weekend 😉 !
    I totally agree, children (and parents) need to experience competition, winning and losing, it’s part of life. We all have fun doing our best taking part and the outcome can sometimes be disappointing, but it gives you something to work harder for next time. And when you win, it’s a great feeling!
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Winning certainly feels all the more sweet if you’ve tasted defeat. Losing is never fun, but learning from the experience is something I hope I can teach my children.

  • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I think you’re absolutely right, children need to learn to lose as well as win, it’s a valuable lesson. I too am rather competitive, even school projects bring out the worst in me 🙂 #LetKidsBeKids

    • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Me too!! I’m learning not to wade in to their school projects. It is soooo difficult not to do it. Eldest has taken to reminding me that its her project, not mine. Glad its not just me.

  • Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I’d say I’m quietly competitive. I’m not one to make a huge fuss but I do like to win (truthfully, who doesn’t?). Our school has competitions related to school projects and my daughter was won at a couple of them. She always gets a bit discouraged when she doesn’t, but that’s just part of life! #letkidsbekids

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