We must recognise that teamwork is essential in every aspect of our lives. Humans can never function at optimum levels if they always operate independently from others. It is something that we learn from an early age, and as children start to mix and integrate with others, they will naturally begin to pick up some elements of teamwork. However, this will need to be reinforced by both teachers and parents. Teamwork is very much a social experience and involves working and mixing with others. Learning the importance of collaboration from a young age will give a child one of the essential life skills that they will take with them through the rest of their life.
As one of the leading kindergartens in Bangkok, at Kidz Village, we believe that children should be taught to interact with others from a young age. Teamwork is one of the fundamental skills that we all require and helps to develop a range of other soft skills. For teamwork to be effective, it requires excellent communication skills as well as helping to create natural leaders. In young children, it will help them to appreciate different points of view along with helping to build trust and a realisation that you are working to achieve a common goal.
Building teamwork at home
Teamwork can be developed anywhere, but for young children, many of the initial concepts will start at home in small groups of friends and family. With those in their formative years, you can ask them to help you with simple menial tasks around the home. Children are often happy to help and will follow their parents lead, and this is an excellent foundation. As they get older, you can introduce some new ideas. Here are just a few of the things that you could consider:
- Invite your child’s friends around. You could create fun projects that they could do together. For instance, you do some cooking together or create a fun science experiment. These are ways that involve more than one person contributing and will teach them how to respect and listen to each other’s ideas and opinions. The projects and games can be adapted depending on your child’s and their peer’s ages.
- Play sports. Arguably one of the best ways to encourage teamwork is by playing a team sport. For those who have larger gardens, football can be played with a little as two people and will allow you to teach your child not only about teamwork but sportsmanship as well. It will help them appreciate success along with respecting their peers. For those without a garden, similar activities can be played in a local park or club.
- The importance of inclusion. A fundamental part of teamwork is ensuring that everyone is included. You should teach your child about the importance of ensuring that no one gets left out or excluded altogether. It is another opportunity to work on soft skills such as being accepting, understanding and having empathy for others. It would be best if you encouraged inclusion from an early age as it is something that they will need to accept throughout their life.
Teamwork in later life
There are many people they believe that teamwork is something that children learn naturally and indeed, not working together is something that they learn. While there are several schools of thought on this matter, the consensus is that it should be encouraged throughout their schooling. Indeed, after students have completed their education, teamwork will be required throughout their working lives and being able to demonstrate that you can work in a team is something that most employers seek.
Although we will always embrace new technology, there can sometimes be a feeling that it encourages people to be individuals rather than to work in a team. As such, you must encourage your child to mix with others in a real environment rather than just through digital devices. Here are some of the things you should encourage them to do which are not only enjoyable but have educational benefits that are transferable into the workplace.
1. Take part in organised activities
Even from a young age, kids can be enrolled in groups that organise extracurricular activities. Almost all of these groups will involve collaboration to some extent. This collaboration is a fantastic way to teach teamwork, and it is fun. It is particularly beneficial for children that come from single-child households where they won’t get the opportunity to mix with siblings. Of course, the organised activities should be age-appropriate, but you could consider cubs and scouts, a dance class, chess club and naturally, team sports.
2. Group bonding and socialisation from a young age
Children of any age will enjoy playing games and participating in activities that are relevant to their age group. These games will encourage teamwork and will take place in a group environment, which will also promote bonding and socialisation. From a teacher’s or a parent’s perspective the objective is to ensure that the activities are fun and the educational element should be kept discreet as using phrases such as “organised teamwork activity” are likely to be met with resistance especially from older children. Some simple but effective games for those of kindergarten age could be follow the leader or scavenger hunt.
3. Encourage positive example on TV and digital devices
Although we are somewhat loathed to include watching TV shows or similar on digital devices, we do recognise that this does form an integral part of modern life for most families. Children of all ages tend to have heroes and mentors on TV programs, so as a parent, you need to ensure that these are positive and appropriate. For younger children, you should encourage them to watch programs that teach character strengths. Simple searches on the internet will give you plenty of ideas which can be matched with your child’s interests.
4. Teach children the importance of encouraging others
Teamwork is excellent for building empathy, as we discussed previously. Any games which they take part in should make the child think outside of their comfort zones and their bubbles. It will encourage them to understand others needs and is an essential element of teamwork. As parents, you should encourage your child to cheer on teammates and praise others for their achievements. Older children should learn about the importance of checking on a friend’s wellbeing and asking about events that have happened in their lives.
5. A positive home environment
Most of the child’s early learning experiences will take place in the home, so your household must be an environment that has an emphasis on teamwork. While many families in Bangkok have a maid, parents should also be actively seen to help, so kids see that cooperation helps to create a successful and thriving household. It can be extremely beneficial if younger children are given household chores such as putting plates away or helping siblings. Of course, when they do help, they should be rewarded with praise and appreciation.
6. Discuss the importance of teamwork and collaboration
Although we would always endorse parents actively, including their child in team activities, we understand that it is not always possible. When this is the case, it is important that you talk about the value of teamwork and collaboration. Discuss the benefits of working together with both from your child’s perspective and that of others. Explain that sometimes things can only be achieved by working together and try to reinforce this with examples that they can relate to from personal experience.
7. Stories that involve teamwork
Linked in with the point above, we are firm advocates of the value of reading and believe that stories that offer lessons on teamwork are fun while also having an educational benefit. As with many elements of collaboration, the books must be aimed at the right age group. Frequently used examples include the Aesop fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper or The Biggest Pumpkin Ever. Once again, you will find numerous examples if you search on Google.
Potential problems with teamwork
It would be foolish to assume that creating effective teams is straightforward; indeed, it is far from it! Just as you will encounter problems in the workplace, the same is definitely true with children where there is an increased likelihood of personality clashes and squabbles. Patience will inevitably be required, but it is in teams where kids will learn valuable life lessons. Problem-solving skills will be learnt; life-long friendships will be formed, and defining character traits will be built. We would recommend that wherever possible, and from a young age, you teach children the importance of teamwork.
Did you find our article interesting?
We hope that this article and helped explain why teamwork is essential as well as ways in which it can be taught. At Kidz Village, collaboration is something that we believe forms a vital part of our education. Our acclaimed International School in Bangkok strives to provide the ideal environment to promote learning. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.