Good Sportsmanship On and Off the Field…

“You cheated.” “Did not!” “Did too!” “Did not!” “Did too!” The biting words are common, endless and universal. Usually viewed during an exchange between children on the playing field, one can easily transfer a similar outburst years later in an adult setting (such as a boardroom). Often the stakes are greater and can lead to dangerous accusations and severe consequences. When is a game so much more than a game?

While there are many forms of cheating, none of them are acceptable. Breaking of rules intentionally or unintentionally for one’s benefit is not a tolerable behavior. The violation can be specific to a game or a more subjective breach of societal norms, customs, values, ethical and moral standards. Permitting the conduct to continue sends a message of acceptance while encouraging the formation of a negative pattern of behavior.

Cheating is not good at 5, 15, or 55 years of age. Sally bamboozles during a game of Candyland without penalty. Johnny secretly deceives while playing cards. Later, both feel that cheating on exams or homework is okay since no one is hurt. Sally is later surprised when she is fired from her job for not providing the proper services for clients, and Johnny is appalled to be fined by the IRS for inconsistencies on his tax return.

Overlooking the negative behavior from a preschooler lets them believe it is all right. EtiKids' curriculum is based on a standard of integrity and quality. Children are expected to be truthful and display sportsmanship. Fostering the social skills that will make them functional members of society comes with practice and expectations. These can be cultivated using a few helpful hints.

1. Learn the rules of the game. Children’s games have rules to follow; adults follow the culture of an institution or customs of a society. Teach children how the game is played. Focus on good behaviors, sharing, listening and playing fair.

2. Learn from mistakes and provide opportunity to do better by practicing. The blame game makes teammates feel bad. Think of how the situation could be avoided and a better way of accomplishing the goal.

3. Learn to lose graciously. There are winners and losers in every game. Losing provides valuable lessons for all. After all, there is always next time...

4. Be polite on and off the field, in and out of work or home. Leave the whining for babies. Showing off is not necessary. Good players are recognized and respected even more for setting a positive example. Trash talk is just that… garbage for the can!

5. Point out the positive. Catch children at their best! Children naturally want to please their parents. Recognize actions that emphasize good moral values and judgment. Simultaneously, it is good to express disapproval of unacceptable conduct; be careful to focus the remark on the behavior, not the child him/herself.

The grownups need to model the behavior for kids. Teaching children to play fairly in the sandbox now will be extremely helpful for them once they grow up. After all, imagine a world filled with love, truth and mutual respect. The dream can become a reality if the kids learn it now.

Winter brings colds, runny noses, sneezes and coughs. Too few layers
outside, lots of clothing for inside, too much heat on in the room and insufficient warmth all raise the chance of becoming chilled and catching a bug! Stress, lack of sleep, holiday overindulgence and viral exposure may increase the odds that a cold will develop. While it may not be possible to live in a sterile environment, there are ways to minimize the damage and not further the virus chain!

An EtiKids favorite, Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! by Rosetta Stone is a reminder of how easily something as small as the sneeze of an insect can have a greater impact. “You may not believe it, but here’s how it happened. One fine summer morning… a little bug sneezed…..”

There is no need to pass along the germs that can cause a cold or worse yet, the flu. The Center for Disease Control highlights the importance of making sure the mouth and nose are covered when sneezing or coughing so infectious droplets stay clear of the mouths or noses of nearby people. To lessen the chances of becoming sick or passing an illness on to someone else, the following suggestions can be added to your list of good health manners to remember:

1. Throw used tissues into the garbage, safely out of reach of an innocent passerby.
Keep soiled tissues off the counter, desk or any other surface readily accessible and easily contaminated.

2. Use an upper sleeve or elbow when tissues are unavailable. EtiKids teaches children to cough or sneeze into their sleeve. A CDC publication states, “Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth”.

3. Wash hands often. Use soap and water to wash hands vigorously for at least 20
seconds. Sing the alphabet or birthday song to estimate the time. Hand sanitizers are a
handy substitute in the absence of soap and water.

4. Don’t share if you care! Like a secret, personal items like a toothbrush, glass or eating utensils are best kept to oneself.

5. Stay home. The easiest way to transmit a cold is close contact with others such as at work or in school.

Winter time keeps more people indoors in closer contact. Be vigilant and mindful of
others with lower levels of resistance. Social skills includes good health habits too! Be cheerful and stay healthy!