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7 Rules to Teach Your Kids Good Sportsmanship

Playing sports as a kid is one of the best memories that I have of my childhood. I was on a baseball team every summer and I looked forward to playing with my teammates and well, winning always felt good. When I think about my kids potentially joining their own summertime sports team, I look at the pros of having them learn what good sportsmanship is all about and how much it’s helped me develop into who I am.

Teaching our kids respect is such an important part of life. They will grow into adults who know how to respect differences, handle certain situations, and be aware of those around them. Sports is a great way to teach this behavior to kids since they’re in contact with many other players, coaches and referees in competitive situations. They will be exposed to what it feels like to win and lose and that will serve them so well in life.

Here are some rules to teach your kids to follow during sports play that will help them develop good sportsmanship:


  • Rules for Good Sportsmanship 1 of 8
    Rules for Good Sportsmanship
    Teaching kids good sportsmanship is an important lesson to learn.
  • Model Good Behavior 2 of 8
    Model Good Behavior
    If you're yelling at the referee or other team coach, your kids are going to see this and think it's okay. While you may not always agree on the call, you can disagree is a far more respectful way and your kids will learn too.
  • Follow the Rules 3 of 8
    Follow the Rules
    There may be times you're tempted to cheat a little in your game, but following the rules and teaching your kids the importance of doing so, will be a great lesson that will follow them in many areas of life.
  • Respect Judgement Calls 4 of 8
    Respect Judgement Calls
    Okay, we won't always agree with the referee's decision, but knowing the rules of the game and knowing that referees have final call, you should teach your kids to respect their call. Yes, this will probably go back to modeling good behavior as well -- sometimes it's hard to accept, but it's part of the game.
  • Play Fairly 5 of 8
    Play Fairly
    There are some sports where it's easier to play unfair than others. If you get baseball bats that are banned from use, or if you're teenagers start to use enhancement drugs, that's not playing fairly. Teaching kids the importance of a fair game will have everyone winning in the end.
  • Always Shake Hands 6 of 8
    Always Shake Hands
    Have your kids show respect to the other team by shaking hands before and/or after the game. Make sure to talk to the kids about why it's important to show respect and congratulate on a good game.
  • Win Without Gloating / Lose Without Pouting 7 of 8
    Win Without Gloating / Lose Without Pouting
    So, when you win it feels really good, but teaching your kids not to gloat on the other team will help them develop great sportsmanship. Also can be said if your team loses. It doesn't feel good, but it's all part of the game.
  • Never Heckle 8 of 8
    Never Heckle
    If your child or kids' team heckle and bully on the field, they're more likely to follow that same philosophy in other social situations according to KidsHealth. Bullying and name calling should never be tolerated, off or on the field.

Photo credits: iStockPhoto

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