My 4 year old cheats at Candyland

I’m not a competitive person. I play games for fun. Sure, I keep score, but its more important to enjoy the game than to win. So with that perspective, I don’t really care that I lose at Candyland when I play with my 4 year old. I do care, however, that he cheats.

For those of you not hip to toddler games, this is the game I’m talking about:

A minute to learn. A lifetime to master.

To play, you put a many sided die under the train and push the train along the track. You lift up the train at one of the four colored Candyland stops, and if the color of the die matches the color of the stop, you get a piece of cardboard candy. The person with the most candy at the end of the the game (ie, when your toddler gets bored) wins.

My kid and I play this quite a bit. Recently, he started wanting Piglet to play with us.

He may look innocent, but he is a hustler.

So after I take my turn, my kid will push the train around using Piglet’s hand and Piglet will collect his own cardboard candy pieces. But then halfway through the game, Piglet will get tired and not want to play anymore. Ok, fine. Kid and I continue the game. But then Piglet will give his cardboard candy pieces to the kid, doubling the amount of tokens the kid collected and ensuring a win. I called him on it and told him that wasn’t fair, and he told me Piglet was just sharing.

As I said in the beginning, I don’t care that I lose at Candyland. Sadly, I know some people that really do have to beat their kids at games. But I do care that he’s cheating. Yeah, he’s 4, this is not a big deal, but I see him talk about winning before we even start the game, and I wonder, is that the only fun part for him? On one hand I’m impressing that I’m raising a kid smart enough to come up with this scheme, but I’m worried. Is he becoming too competitive? Does he even know he’s rigging the game to ensure a win?

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About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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9 Responses to My 4 year old cheats at Candyland

  1. jhubner73 says:

    4 year olds…the real hustlers. I’ve been taken on more than one occasion at Hi Ho Cherry-O.

  2. niprita says:

    Perhaps he still in learning progress, he din’t know yet about the true meaning of win. Sometimes in my childhood I did cheat when my opponent did.

    Oh ya, I have been promise for you for did a creative bracelet from unused magazine–in a post that you wrote on March–but I didn’t post it yet. My PC had a trouble on last month so I didn’t have an opportunity to make a post about it. It still draft, but now when my PC is well, I have to post it again. Not today, but I think in this week. Im tooooooo late to post it, but however, I love my bracelet much! Thanks for the idea, Emma ^^

  3. Ryan says:

    Does he even know he’s rigging the game to ensure a win?

    Probably, at least on some level. You could do the same thing to him and analyze his reaction. Does he seem to care that you get to bring in a helper? Does he seem to care that you win with this helper? Or does he still have fun?

    That might tell you whether or not he’s “too competitive” as well as teach him a lesson if he is. If he continues this behavior, it’s probably just a matter of time before another kid calls him on it anyway.

    • emmawolf says:

      When we had first started the game, I said that our cat wanted to play too. He said no, the cat didn’t want to play. I didn’t push the issue, because I didn’t anticipate this “cheating.”

      I’m thinking too that another kid will call him on it and that will be more effective than me saying something.

  4. I seem to recall some research a few years back — wish I could remember names for you! — that indicated the younger a child started lying (such as in this way), the more intelligent that child potentially was. Something about being able to differentiate between what was in his/her head and everyone else’s. Of course, the researcher went on to say, you want this habit to be trained out before the age of seven or so. 😉 But cheating at Candyland may not be a terrible thing.

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