TEAM-BUILDING AT HOME
There are many ways to give your child opportunities to practice their teamwork skills at home. You might like to try:
- Board Games and party games like Scrabble, Top Trumps, Charades, Jenga and Ludo: great for developing important social skills like taking turns, collaboration and compromise.
- Cooking: challenge siblings to work together to follow a recipe and bake a cake or even cook dinner.
- Putting on a play, show or music concert with siblings, friends or other family members.
- Art projects such as making a large collage or mosaic, or construction projects like making a lego city.
- Helping each other with homework: a great way for older children to support their younger siblings, while also developing vital skills such as communication and patience themselves.
- Active outdoor play such as football, basketball, building dens or obstacle courses, and even building a snowman in the winter.
- Team games like the classic passing a balloon between the legs and parachute games where children have to work together to keep a ball aloft: great if you have a group of kids to entertain.
Just keep in mind that teamwork can be challenging for children (and especially for siblings!), and be prepared to intervene if things are getting too competitive or confrontational.
Because teamwork doesn’t come naturally, many children struggle with it, whether that’s because they’re shy, have a tendency to be bossy, or struggle when they’re on the losing team.
The good news is that there’s plenty we adults can do to help our children become better team players.
Emphasize the importance of being part of a team. Teams are more than just their strongest members: everyone has a role. ‘As parents, we can help our children find their strengths and develop them,’ says Claire. ‘Real resilience is knowing what you’re good at and playing to that.’ If, for example, your child isn’t a natural striker, they might be better suited to playing in goal for their football team.
Build their confidence. Children who are shy and reserved might find it difficult to be part of a team, and get walked over by more forceful characters. ‘Teachers and parents can help by giving quieter team members their own job to do,’ says Ian. ‘This shows that you believe in the child and builds their confidence.’
Demonstrate teamwork at home. There are dozens of opportunities to collaborate: for example, one sibling could fold the washing and the other put it away. You and your children could devise and cook a menu for a special meal, or join forces to plan a family day out, including transport, route and itinerary.
Enroll in an after-school activity. An extra benefit of joining an extracurricular activity is that children get to socialize with a different group of peers, expanding their social network. Our favorite is Martial Arts.
Encourage fair play. Good ground rules – such as taking turns and being kind – are essential for teamwork, so set clear guidelines for team activities. ‘It’s even more effective if children come up with the rules themselves, as then they’re more invested in them,’ says Claire.
Keep in touch with school. If your child is finding the teamwork side of school hard, talk to their teacher. There are lots of strategies that can be used to help kids become better at being part of a team, such as picking names out of a hat for team leader positions rather than always calling on the same characters, or getting older pupils to run playground games for younger children.
Seek help if you’re worried. If you’re concerned that your child has social difficulties that are making teamwork hard, ask to speak to the school’s special educational needs coordinator for advice. But be realistic – even adults sometimes find it hard to be a team player, and most children will get better with practice.
Another great option is to sign your child up for Martial Arts Classes.
Martial Arts Classes are a great way to build your child’s confidence and allow them to make friends. It also presents an opportunity for them to improve their Teamwork.