LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: 6 ways to teach good sportsmanship.

School is fast approaching and sign-ups for a bunch of fall sports are now opening up across Mid-Michigan, that for young kids will be their first chance to play organized sports. Child development experts highly recommend getting your kids involved in sports or games, but, just as important is how they interact with other kids and coaches. These activities are major social forces that can help shape the character of kids, but they also can be an opportunity for parents to teach their children, no matter how old they are, how to handle themselves positively in a difficult situation.

According to experts at Michigan State University’s Extension office, here are 6 ways parents can help a child learn how to have good sportsmanship — yet still be a fierce competitor:

*Explain sportsmanship. Demonstrate why it’s important to follow rules, be honest and fair, be well-mannered, and accept outcomes gracefully.

*Encourage your kids to cheer for their teammates. This will allow children to learn how to support other kids.

*Show them how to respect others. This means they shouldn’t heckle, boo, or make rude or insulting comments to competitors, coaches, or game officials.

*Teach self-control. Games can get emotional, but players need to be taught how to control their emotions and not scream at fellow teammates, opposing players, or damage sporting equipment.

*Be willing to learn. If your child ends up losing, rather than blaming others or themselves, it’s a perfect time to teach them how to get better.

*Walk the talk. You must also show good sportsmanship when watching your kids play. Remember, your kids are watching you, and will imitate you.

Child development experts say, being a winner includes having a winning attitude – and that means having great sportsmanship. A skill that should be taught early in life, but it’s never too late to try.