It’s back to school time! “Back to school” means many things. Back to bedtimes. Back to school projects. Back to full backpacks. “Back to school” also means back to being in a group. School is not only a place for academics; it is also a place where children learn to function in a group.
Here are 3 things you can do outside of school to help promote teamwork skills in your child.
You’ll hear, “Can’t I just do it alone?” Most 5-year-olds are not interested in knowing that they will need to collaborate with coworkers one day. Sports provide a way for your child to experience the benefits of working together. Each person on the team plays a different role. Watch a crew team rowing or a soccer team passing the ball, and it’s easy to tell how and why they are working together. Play or watch sports with your child and discuss how teams work together.
Chances are you are already working together as a family. Cleaning up after dinner? Teamwork. Getting out of the door on time in the morning? Teamwork. Unloading the groceries? Teamwork. Ask your child what role they and other members of their family play in these situations. Soon they will realize that they are practicing teamwork already. Feel free to acknowledge the behavior when you see it happening with phrases such as, “I noticed that you—” or “That was very helpful when—”.
Children mimic the behaviors they see. Make sure you surround your child with examples of teamwork. For instance, watching age-appropriate television shows with well-rounded characters is an entertaining way of letting your kids observe collaborative behaviors across multiple scenarios. Try pausing the show for a few minutes when the characters face difficulties and ask, “How will they work together to solve their problem?”