Pre-K Passions

Are You Encouraging Good Behavior?

Sometimes, it's the parents who need a lesson in good sportsmanship. Here's how you should -- and shouldn't -- act around your child.

DO praise the effort, not the outcome. Congratulate your child (and the other kids involved) on finishing their crafts or giving the game their all.

DON'T ask your kid if he won the game or created the prettiest drawing. Instead, say: "Did you have fun today?" or "What did you learn today?" Making it into a competition could add pressure and sour him on the activity.

DO let your child quit. While it's true kids need to learn how to follow through, you shouldn't force your preschooler to keep doing something that makes him unhappy. If he's in tears before every soccer match, consider pulling him out.

DON'T get too wrapped up in it. If you find yourself criticizing your child's performance, remove yourself for a day or two and let your spouse take over.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the January 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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