Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's not whether you win or lose....

Andrew is in camp this week. I am suppose to drop him off but of course I can not. The director is fantastic and she 'gets' Andrew but I have run across old assumptions by others...why don't you use behavioral?...do you think he has these outbursts because of too much attention at home? ...do you use sign? They get board games out at the end of the day. Today Andrew said, "these are bored games. Get it mom? B-O-R-E-D." Part of this is that you have to follow all the rules and then there is that losing thing. We once had a social worker at the house that tried to teach Andrew to lose by winning and saying, "you are suppose to be nice when you lose." And many a 'helper' or therapist has been known to say, "this is how you play." And then they proceed with the 20 point rule book. But you can't START with ALL 20 rules nor can you start with, "I win I win. Now be nice."

First on the rules: One thing I do here is make it simple. The first couple of times with Chutes and Ladders (which was played for the first time this year) we simply roll the dice and it is a bit of a free for all. Then we gradually moved toward all the rules. You can start any game with just ONE player and make it a fun imagination time. Maybe you start with just the ladders, then add the chutes the next time around. If a kiddo doesn't like board games you start with a QUICK one. Today at camp I told Andrew, 'two more turns." There is no need to be 'particular' on the rules if the kids playing are just 'learning to play' versus learning to win. And you don't NEED to finish the game although you should finish on the 'guides' timetable.

Now onto winning. You do NOT teach winning by winning yourself or even by demonstrating losing gracefully' although that is helpful at some point. I have done many 'mini-games' with Andrew and started by having him win! High fives all around!! Then I move to a game where there are many 'rounds.' Just tonight after bath we played "thumb wars." I can win a 'round' but not the whole thing and demonstrate being 'bummed' or being happy. At one point I pulled one of his tricks and said, "Hey look! a bird." He looked! And I took out his thumb. He called me on it and told me I lost a point for cheating. Then he did the same thing! So of course I had to call him on it, but he had that immediate memory of calling me out. There are so many games where you can play rounds.

When teaching game playing, rules and winning / losing ...simple is better.


The Glasers said...

Thinking about it developmentally (i.e., both Charlotte Mason and
Awakening Children's Minds agree here) board games, and formal organized games, are better for older
children--not for preschool children. Children who are developmentally delayed in their dynamic thinking skills probably
would be bored of board games because they seem pretty pointless to them.

The thumb wars games looks pretty fun!

Amy K. said...

Your description of how you teach games is exactly how my mom taught my boys. It's amazing-- she was so developmentally on cue. And, plus, she doesn't have a competitive bone in her body so the event of playing was the fun part. (Not so with my dh, who can be a lot of fun with a bunch of also competitive uncles and the boys who are older!) But she would start out with virtually no rules, simply trying out rolling dice and drawing cards, or hopping from square to square. This was a 2 year old version. By 3, they were choosing up colors or whatever in Sorry. But she always took the fall for any "sorry" card! :-P As they grew older, rules came into play. They didn't follow the rules fully until they got to their own black/white stage of understanding them and wanting them to be followed by all participants.

All of them favored matching games, where you try to find the match. No one really counted at the end in the early years.

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