Playing to Lose.

It’s an unwritten rule of parenthood that, when you play games with your kids, you have to lose. It’s important for your sense of self-worth and, more importantly, for theirs, to lose. You have to lose because children have to win. They have to know that they can win, even against adults. Kids need to be able assess a situation, wiggle their way out of it, and come out ahead. Mostly, they love to win, even more than adults do.
I’ve learned the hard way that there are a few games that allow one to lose easily. Generally, this requires what I call “reverse cheating.” Reverse cheating means putting cards under your bum when the kid’s not looking or stacking cards in such a way that the kid gets the advantage or pretending to roll the die and always getting a “1” or checking off the wrong boxes. Here are a few games that are good for losing:

  • Clue Jr.
  • Concentration (card game based on remembering and matching cards)
  • Checkers
  • Candy Land
  • Chutes and Ladders

– Brought to you by the letter “C.”