Never underestimate the significance of playtime.
Any given afternoon, you can find kids on fields and courts all over the country in greater numbers than ever before. But with the greater participation, the flames are fanned on the debate of when is it too early to introduce competition to children. Are we training them to be soft and out of touch with the real world if we don’t keep score? Or are we creating too much pressure where winning is what counts and to associate lesser worth with anything not first place?
In the controversy with the focus on competition, it’s easy to loose track of introducing the values gained in teamwork.
I recently had the chance with my family to attend the Wii Experience to promote their upcoming Wii U product. What struck me was that Nintendo really gets it. They have always been family friendly, but looking at the new product and games like Ghost Mansion, the focus was evident: collaborative experience through games. We grew up playing Risk and Monopoly where there is a clear, individual winner. However, Nintendo’s newest games (along with some recent board games; see Castle Panic from Fireside Games) emphasize teamwork and communication, all important elements of cooperation. In these games, success hinges on these strategies.
As we play and learn together with our kids, we can develop along with them life-long skills. It’s absolutely true that children will find that the world is competitive. But teaching our kids the win-win strategies of collaboration can bring them much more success in their future relationships and careers.
Todd Tuell is a work-from-home freelance writer, children’s author, Books4Boyz blogger, and father of three. His joy is in watching his kids (way better than TV) and in writing fiction for children and teens. He seeks (and occasionally finds) rare moments of peace and clarity at the bottom of a coffee cup (first thing in the morning), in distance running (never first thing in the morning) and with the perfect ending to a novel (late-late at night).