I hate cheating. I love playing a game and having the satisfaction of knowing I won based on skill alone. I will not cheat in order to win, there is no fun in this; I would just walk away feeling a truck load of guilt, fearing a big lightning bolt from above striking my head.
Kalyra and I love to play memory game, or concentration, with animal cards together. This is a great game that helps to teach Kalyra how to think. As a mother and teacher, I aim to set up situations for my daughter that enables her to think and solve problems for herself. I am not a believer in doing things for her just so I can feel needed. If I think she is capable of doing it then she is going to do it.
Of course she is only three and so when we play she has a few of her own little rules she wants to play by. The play-by-the-rules finger in me starts to come out before I realize that perhaps there is something greater here for her to learn than just cheating is not a great thing.
This can be a morality code that can be installed in small doses as she moves through life. Her little self-centred self is probably not going to fully grasp code of ethics just yet.
The more important lesson here is “How is she thinking and learning?”
So before I enforce the rules, I look at what is happening, and I may take a step back and let her go ahead. So of course, a rule is to take it in turns.
But, sometimes during her turn she might uncover two animals that don’t match, yet one of those animals she can remember having a match somewhere else. She forgets that Mummy is meant to go next and shouts,
“I know where the other one is” as she reaches to turn it over.
So I can step in here and say “No, you have had your turn. It’s Mummy’s turn now.”
And with that she loses the opportunity to use the very important memorization part of her brain that is developing as it guides her to the matching pair. And I rob her of that very important feeling of achievement. That positive internal motivation that keeps her wanting to learn more and succeeding more.
“Aren’t you so clever. Look how you remembered where it was. I’ll let you have this one, but remember you have to take turns and that was Mummy’s turn, but I really like the way you were thinking.”
If I continue to install values within her in our everyday life, the play-by-the-rules morality code will shine through when she needs it more later. Right now she needs to develop her self-esteem, her thinking skills and her passion for learning.
Choose your battles right. Always look for the more impactful reward.