Should Medals Be Banned From Sports Day?

A hot topic among parents for many years, and something I definitely more consciously think about since my children started school.

Whether you are for or against having medals at sports day, I think there are pros and cons for each side of the coin.

Here is why:

Medals teach lessons.

I think including medals in a sports day does one very important thing. It teaches children that you don’t always succeed, even when you try your best. It teaches them to be gracious losers and to always be happy for the opponent even when you are disappointed yourself - a lesson they will carry for life. Through interviews, relationships, even work.

But what if your child just isn’t as good?

I wholeheartedly agree with the above point, but I can’t help thinking of my own little ones on their sports days. Some of my children are extremely competitive, some are not. What I do know is, they give everything 110%. In my opinion, if a sports day is giving out medals, there should be a ‘best effort’ medal too. Just because a little one doesn’t win doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve to - logistics just got in the way and they tried their very best. That should be recognised.

Everyone gets a medal.

In two of my children’s schools every child gets a medal. For winning, for taking part or if there is no valid reason, they make one up. To be honest I think and hope most schools would be similar in that respect. It’s not the Olympics, all that should really matter for little ones is that everyone took part, gave it their best shot and had a great day. 

Even the ones that know sports is not their forte. With a ban on medals, it saves that child one less embarrassment of being chosen last for teams.

What is that teaching them?

I know many won’t agree with that and would probably be right in asking, what does that teach them? If everyone gets a medal, will it stop encouraging them to always strive for better? Show them that if you get a knock, you get straight back up. Does it not set them up for life to be a gracious loser and to always congratulate your opponent, even in defeat?

The one who always comes last

There will always be the super competitive and sporty child who is just fantastic at every sport and is on all the teams. However, that child chooses to be on those teams. The difference with a sports day is it, by default, includes every child.

Even the ones that don’t necessarily like sports or competitive activities. Even the ones that know sports is not their forte. With a ban on medals, it saves that child one less embarrassment of being chosen last for teams, etc. It makes sports days less about winning and more about fun and inclusion.

What do you think?

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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