Playing Games with Kids: Let Them Win or Not?

At a recent family gathering, my mother, 85, wasted no time sitting on the floor to be taught Uno by my grand-daughter, 4. I listened as the rules were explained and playing commenced. IMG_1132

Certainly one of the many joys of grandparenthood is playing games with the grand kids. Often we’ll play games while the parents are busy preparing meals or tending to younger ones, or taking a rest. We play games still popular from when we were kids and that our children played. And we happily learn new ones, paying attention to the rules so we’re not chastised: “I told you last time how many cards to deal, grandma.”

Games are important to kids’ development. They learn about rules, about being good sports, about the effects of cheating, about what’s fair and what’s not. They negotiate, discuss and plan strategy.

Favorites so far with my grands are Uno and the card game, War. They have a couple board games—Candyland, and Sequences, a game that involves strategy to place markers on four animal squares in a row. They like Twister and are learning chess.

For my grandson’s 6th birthday, I bought Rush Hour, Jr.,  61LMrLpLjbL a game that involves maneuvering an ice cream truck through a grid of plastic cars and trucks snarled in a traffic jam to find an exit. I remember my kids liking the challenges presented.

I picked up Petit Collage Mix & Match Robot Remix, 51ziLpzIOLL._SY355_a set of cardboard robot cards, divided into thirds, allowing users to mix and match robot body parts. There’s no real game per se. The children created a game however, applying the methods of a basic concentration memory game. I enjoyed listening to them help and encourage each other, and sat down on the floor to help, only to be quickly shooed away as I wasn’t needed.

Reading the Wall Street Journal about when to allow your child to win at games peeked my interest.  The article featured Monopoly, which I look forward to playing when the children can read and understand money. So far, I know I haven’t deliberately let them win, but sometimes I admit I do help them – suggesting moves, etc., to perhaps move the game along. After all, how many rounds of Uno can one play?

So what do you think? Should adults let kids win at games? Why or why not?





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14 Responses to Playing Games with Kids: Let Them Win or Not?

  1. madtaylor says:

    I remember one Hannukah, Ruby’s cousin, Blake bestowed Ruby with “Rush Hour” it provided great hours of fun which Blake still talks about…”Remember when we played Rush Hour?’ So cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. he loves rush hour, loves loves loves it.

    *Jacob Winkler, LSW, LMSW*

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  3. I remember my mother allowing me to win at checkers. I understood what she was doing, and it helped me to watch the checker board more carefully… and look how I turned out!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perfect, of course! My husband didn’t allow my son to win at chess– but did give tips and ask, are you sure you want to do that? No one answer to this question- depends on the age of the child, type of game, patience of the adult too!


  4. I always let my daughter win. I would advise against this, I think it helped develop her perfectionists streak.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think sometimes you let them win Lisa, especially when they’re first learning and discouraged. Love how you and your mom get down on the floor with the kids, even at the risk of being shooed away. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post really hit home because games are a big thing with our grandchildren too. They just got Monopoly for Chanukah and play it a lot with each other (the 2 boys – ages 5 and 7 1/2). I asked my grandsons if they think adults should let them win when playing with them and the 7 1/2 year old say, “No – don’t let us win – just play a little easy sometimes. But never let us win because then we will grow up to be a sore loser” —- I guess that’s good advice – playing “easy” as he calls it means not making the strategy so difficult for them to beat. Or maybe giving a suggestion on a move sometimes. Depends on the nature of the child…I guess no real rules.

    But it also depends on the age and type of game. If it’s a little kid first learning a game, of course let them win….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. marymtf says:

    Board games are great. They allow for the sort of one on one communication that electronic games do not. I don’t think there should be any hard and fast rule about whether to,(sometimes) let children win or not. It depends on the situation and the age of the child, I think.


  8. tchistorygal says:

    Hi Lisa, I think letting kids win depends on the age and the child as well as the adult. I know some adults that take pride in WHEN their kids do finally beat them, because they haven’t just let them win. Most of them help their kids when they are very young.


  9. hugmamma says:

    We still play games with our 29-year-old daughter. She loves beating us, probably because we all love winning. It’s fun! As a child, she always, always won at MEMORY. We think that’s why she’s fantastic at learning choreography. She picks it up so quickly and retains it for performances. Amazing! Not sure what we did as far as letting her win or not as a child. Whatever we did…didn’t scar her. She’s always been up for a challenge…


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