Do you let your child win? And is letting your child win considered an act of encouragement? I don't know if there's a right or wrong answer. Ask two people and you'll get three opinions. Here's mine...
One of our house rules is Never Lie, so I'm of the opinion that letting a child win is, in fact, lying.
We started out by sticking with games that were more about luck than skill. Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders, The Ladybug Game and Hi Ho Cherry O are all great for beginners and level the playing field for adults and kids. Teaching our child how to be a gracious winner was equally important to her losing without a tantrum. But eventually, we all got tired of playing the same games over and over.
For her last birthday, we recieved a game called Zingo. Great family game. Similar to bingo, Zingo encourages players to call out what they need as it's revealed in order to get the piece for their board. Sounds complicated but it's very simple. Basically, you snooze, you lose. Molly lost a lot when we first started playing together but interestingly, she didn't give up and she didn't lose interest in the game. Now she pays close attention and has legitimately beaten us both on more than one occassion. We tried the same approach with Tic Tac Toe. She hasn't won yet but she's tied up the game which shows she's learning.
For the holidays, we received Cranium Cadoo from a neighbor. It's slightly advance for 5, so we decided to play in teams. Sometimes it's me and Molly against Daddy. She loves the team approach so much, we've applied it to lots of other household activities such as cleaning and cooking. What's gonna work? Team Work! Thank you, Wonder Pets!
One of the newest games we found doesn't even have a winner or a loser. Rush Hour has 40 different cards which create a grid lock pattern on a board using tiny plastic cars, trucks and buses. Each scenario allows players to move the cars around the board without lifting them until the ice cream truck is free. Great for stragegy and understanding spacial relationships. It gets progressively harder with each card. We love playing it together and it's a great travel game - light weight and portable.
So, what's the right answer? Let your child win? Be honest? Or avoid the scenario altogether by selecting games that level the playing field. Eventually, every child has to learn that they can't win all the time. Better now than later. Good luck, whatever you decide!