Just about everyone hates to lose, but for Little Leaguers, they often take a loss personally and beat themselves up over it. As a parent of a Little Leaguer, it’s important to use the loss as a learning tool so that you can help your child be a good sport and learn from the experience. Here are five things that parents can tell their Little Leaguers after losing a game:
Lesson: Point Out the Positives
After a loss, kids instinctively focus on the negative aspects of the loss. For Little Leaguers, they’ll look at strikeouts and errors in the field that may have helped lead to the loss of a game. Parents should use these times to focus on the positives and point out to their son/daughter the good things they did in the game to make them feel better.
Takeaway: Always lead with a positive thing that happened in the game, i.e. a solid hit or nice fielding play. Make their Little Leaguers feel good about what was accomplished despite the loss.
Lesson: Let Them Know It’s Not the End of the World
Kids take losing hard, but it’s also important as a parent to teach them how to keep things in perspective. It’s just a Little League game, and while it may seem like the end of the world when a Little Leaguer loses, as a parent it’s an opportunity to let them know that there will be other games and a chance to win in the future.
Takeaway: Teach your child that their life hasn’t ended with a loss. Let them know they’ll quickly have the chance to be on the winning side of things very soon.
Lesson: Let Them Know It’s Okay to Cry
One fact that will never change is that kids cry. Sometimes a lot. It’s common to see Little Leaguers crying after losing a game. Contrary to what Tom Hanks said in “A League of Their Own,” there is crying in baseball. Remember that kids eventually stop crying and move on. You can help them get over their hurt emotions by reinforcing what they did well during the game.
Takeaway: Teach your Little Leaguer that it’s okay to cry, but let them know that there is also much joy in baseball as well.
Lesson: Losing is Temporary and Can Be Changed
When your Little Leaguer is devastated that his team lost, they look at it as a feeling that will never go away. As a parent, it’s important to let them know that everyone loses at some point in their life, even MVPs like Miguel Cabrera.
Takeaway: Encourage your Little Leaguer that even the best of players lose occasionally, but they still go out and try their very best with the next game.
Lesson: Let Them Know You Still Love Them No Matter What
Any child will look at a loss as a major catastrophe, but a parent can use the opportunity to tell their Little Leaguers that the loss doesn’t take away from how they feel about their child.
Takeaway: Give your Little Leaguer a big bear hug at the end of the game and let them know that they’re still the best kid in the world despite the loss.
Parents can learn to be great role models when dealing with a Little Leaguer’s loss. Simple words of encouragement and positive actions will show their children that losing is a part of life and that much good can be learned from every loss.