Between the ages of 4- and 5-years-old, children should be able to abide by the rules of a game but it is not until 6- to 8-years-old that they learn how to be good winners and losers. Therefore, parents need to handle playing games with young children carefully.


‘Should I let my 4-year-old daughter win when we play snakes and ladders?’

4-year-old children are able to understand and abide by the rules of a game such as snakes and ladders but they are going to have trouble losing. Therefore, there are different strategies that parents can use to keep games fun. One strategy is to offer your child an advantage such as being allowed to throw the dice twice rather than once or being allowed extra throws of the dice if you are ahead. Another way is to change sides or counters during the game every three moves. Alternatively, you can play until everyone gets to the end and everyone wins the game. As your child gets older, they will want to play by stricter rules to make the game more challenging but while they are young, it is a good idea to remove the competitive element of the game.

However, if your daughter tries to cheat during the game such as changing the number on the dice or moving their counter ahead, then stop the game as it is important that they learn not to cheat. Explain to her that cheating is not okay and that it stops the game being fun. You can reward your daughter with a sticker or some other kind of token at the end of the game for playing fairly.