As adults, we understand that being able to work successfully with others is an important life skill. However, young children are still developing their understanding of cooperation and teamwork. Here are some ways you can encourage your child to work together with others.
Model teamwork at home
Your daily life at home is an ideal time to demonstrate cooperative behavior. For example, asking your child to help with simple household tasks like putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher will allow them to see how their actions contribute to the family. Make sure your child also sees you working in cooperation with other members of the family, and resolving any conflicts in a calm and conversational way.
Praise cooperative behavior
When your child is working well with another person, praising them will help them to understand that teamwork is good behavior. For example, if your children are creating a block tower together, make a point of saying how their good teamwork will certainly help them build a great tower.
Encourage collaborative games
Studies have shown that children tend to get along better when they’re working toward a common goal. Additionally, children learn during play. Encourage your child to explore collaborative – but not competitive – activities like putting together a puzzle, Duck Duck Goose, science experiments, playing jump rope, or a relay race. Emphasize to your child that working together will help everyone complete the game.
Have conversations about conflict resolution with your child
You can help your child understand appropriate conflict resolution by having open-ended conversations about what they would do in certain scenarios. For example, you can ask, “If you and your friend at school both want to play with the same toy, what do you think you could do so you’re both happy?” Keep these conversations child-directed so that your child can be the one to examine the situation and find an answer.
Ask your child’s daycare for teamwork advice
Whether you want teamwork ideas specific to your child or ideas in general, your child’s preschool or daycare is a great place to find help. Not only do they have experience with children of all temperaments and personalities, but they also know your child quite well. Your child’s preschool teacher will also be able to offer advice based on the latest strategies and best practices in early childhood education.
By modeling teamwork at home, encouraging collaboration, having conversations with your child, and working with your child’s daycare, you can help your child learn how to work together with others.