Always a Winner? Should kids win all the games at their own party?

My question to you all today is – Should the birthday girl or boy ‘win’ every game played at their party?
The child is the true guest of honour at their party, but should they win every game?

I ask this because I have noticed a shift over the last 6 / 12 months and it’s becoming a common request from my lovely families who have booked a party to ask – Please can you try to ensure that my child wins all the games as they get really upset.

Of course I NEVER want an upset child, especially at their own special party,  but it got me wondering… has something changed in the school curriculum? Are there no longer winners or losers? Is everyone a winner? And should I just start to automatically do this for every party even if it’s not requested? HELP!!!

I seriously have started to get nervous about it!
I have never felt this way when it comes to playing party games. I have always felt confident and in control of the kids. I am always calm and diplomatic and have never really had a problem but now I literally feel scared to not reward the birthday girl or boy for every game! My mouth gets dry and I feel this hot rush come over me just before I pick my winner. Its like they could be a ticking time bomb of emotion, and if they ‘go off’ and get upset I will feel like I ruined the whole party! Boo!!!!

Sounds a bit dramatic right ( well lets face it, I am a fairly dramatic person in general ) but my focus is always to make sure the child has the best day possible.
So I now bring extra, extra prizes so the birthday girl or boy wins as well as one of their friends (so it doesn’t look too ‘rigged’). I try my best to ‘read the situation’ and so far I am mostly spot on but there have been some definite moments.
Like if a sibling doesn’t win as well ( hard when theres 5 siblings!!) or if they don’t both get a prize exactly the same.

I started to think back to my own birthday parties and ones I attended as a kid.
We NEVER had a prize in every layer of the pass the parcel ( mum was probably like – this wrapping is enough as it is!) and we certainly didn’t win every game. We learnt what it felt like to lose.
Not just at parties. I think I lost every running/ swimming/ sporting event and race I ever took part in. But I wasn’t too bothered by that. I think I actually thought it was funny! Maybe only slightly bothered when I took part in dancing competitions. Those things can really KILL your ego. ( excuse me while I reminisce those hardcore, competitive, over the top,  dance comps. They are BRUTAL. I even won a few and still think they are full on.)

On an extension of this I started to think, if kids are always winning and never losing, how will they take their first job rejection or if they are not accepted into uni.
What about the first person that turns them down on a date or if they apply for a rental home and don’t make the cut? Are we setting kids up for emotional downfall? Or is there a study I need to read up on that shows they will be much more confident and independent by adulthood to deal with losing and rejection better once they are older and more mature?

I ask this as a mother and not just a children’s entertainer. If parents want me to ensure their child wins at every party, I will do that because that is my job. I am here to give your kids the best god dam party!! But as a mother, I want to know – has there been a shift? What have I missed? Have I been too busy playing tractor games and watching ABC kids in between emails and meetings to have missed the news on this one?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this little dilemma.
Lots of love always – regardless of if you win or lose. xxx

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6 thoughts on “Always a Winner? Should kids win all the games at their own party?”

  1. I noticed this was happening in classrooms a lot – institutionalised ‘everybody wins’ syndrome, where you are given a ‘Student of the Week’ certificate for every student in your class, and expected to give each child an award over the course of the year – the philosophy is that children should feel included, and there is something special about every child (even if you are awarding them an award for sharing after 39 weeks of telling them to). I’d never seen this before (after all normally the teacher has autonomy over this kind of thing) but the students were very familiar with it. Each week they would announce “It’s my turn. I haven’t had one yet”. I have also noticed the trend at parties for Pass the Parcel to have a gift in every layer. The last party I went to they were all gooood gifts too. No Minties or Fantales to be seen.
    Is it healthy for kids to always expect a reward? No. Is it creating a generation of entitled teens and adults? Probably. Will I have the problem in my house? Not
    If I can help it. 😀

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  2. I would say the opposite: the birthday child should not win any of the games! They get spoilt enough as it is without getting all the prizes as well.
    What’s the fun in going to someone’s party if you have no chance of winning a game?
    I also think having a prize in every layer of pass the parcel has made it such a boring game.
    If the siblings are younger, I could understand wanting something for them as well as they are unlikely to win a game. E.g. a prize for the best 2 year old statue as well as the regular prize.
    I don’t think any of my friends would expect their child to win everything, so I would only do it as requested.

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  3. There has definitely been a shift in society for this to be occurring more. My concern is for the missed teaching opportunities about emotional security if you can’t let your child ‘lose’ in an environment when you are there to support them.

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  4. It’s hardly teaching kids resilience to let them win every time. It sets them up for the fall later in life I think and gives the kid unrealistic expectations. If the parents haven’t taught their child how to be a good winner and loser, maybe let them win one game and give the rest of the kids a chance. Surely those parents would have taught about sharing at least!
    I don’t remember ever winning the prizes at my own birthdays.. I got given all the presents and my friends celebrated with me with the games, food and cake etc. isn’t that enough? Let them have a little fun as the guests of the guest of honour.

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  5. It is definitely setting them up for an emotional downfall, like you said when they don’t get accepted for a rental property are they going to stamp their feet and through a tantrum in the estate office until they get their own way. As a mother of twins who are 13 next week (now excise me while l go curl up in the fetal position and rock) and l noticed the trend way back when they were in prep in 2010, if one got a sticker in class for a good job on something they would reward the other so she wouldn’t get upset. I had to go see the teacher as l said thats not life, you win some you lose some. When l was a kid and had parties there was one prize per game, the idea of a birthday was having friends and family around to celebrate your birthday not to make sure little Timmy or little Sally won prizes, games are added in to keep kids occupied and to burn off some of that sugary goodness

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