Introducing Life Skills to Your Kids
Benefits of Teamwork
When the word teamwork is mentioned, images of people playing sports come to mind. But Teamwork doesn’t just happen in sport. Our kids engage in lots of activities that require teamwork. In class, they’re usually asked to work on projects in pairs or in groups and they play games which require them to make teams.
Making and keeping friends
Being part of a team helps develop social skills in our children – listening to others’ opinions and ideas, conflict resolution, motivating others, and even supporting one another when there’s failure. All these things help your kids make friends at school and at home. Sociable kids are usually popular kids and teamwork is a big part of that.
Benefits for life
The future holds big rewards for children who are team players. Most enterprises acknowledge that the ability to be a team player is an essential skill, and often is a requirement of the job. Those who display skills in being a team player will be more likely to get hired.
Teaching your kids about Teamwork
OK, as with everything, the theory is the easy part! But how do you teach your 8 year old that teamwork is important? The first part is to make them aware of the benefits to them. Age appropriate stories about teamwork are hard to come by. So we have written a short story specifically for your 6-11 year-old. It's called Timmy Tuna and is free for you to read to your kids.
Once they've got the idea, then some practical demonstrations will fix the attitude and behavior into their minds. The trick is to ensure that the activity is fun and results in some kind of positive reward for your child.
Some say that teamwork at home is all about getting your kids to share in the household chores. Did you try that? Did it work? Well it never worked for us! The word 'chores' sends the wrong message from the start and ordering your kids around the house from job to job isn't real teamwork. It helps to be a bit more creative.
Making 'chores' into a game
The Crashed Spaceship: Is that an unmade bed? No, it's a crashed spaceship and you've got to get it back in shape before you can escape from this dangerous planet. You'll need new parts for your ship (Mom or Dad bring spare parts - clean sheets and pillow cases). You'll need to make the necessary repairs yourself (remake the bed) and of course, the crew and passengers need to be onboard and ready for take-off (soft toys etc). Remove old parts for recycling (old sheets to wash basket) As the Chief Pilot of this ship, you are responsible for your ship. The Chief Pilot must keep his or her ship ready for immediate take-off. Rewards: Speedy rebuild = 5 mins extra play. Keeping the ship ready for launch for one week = 1 new crew member for the ship (soft toy)
The Zoo Keeper: A messy room? Toys everywhere? Nope. They are all animals which have escaped from the zoo. You are Head Zookeeper and you've just got to get those animals back into their own pens before they return to the wild. Get help from brothers or sisters (or parent) to capture animals which strayed into other rooms. Ensure that the most lively animals are kept in a secure pen (toy box). Any injured animals need to go to the vet (Mom or Dad) for treatment. As Head Zookeeper it is your job to make sure they don't escape again. Rewards: Recapture all animals and tidy up the zoo = extra treat after feeding time (small cookie or candy after meal). Keep Zoo tidy and all animals under control for 1 week = Trip to the real Zoo, or watch an animal related movie (Madagascar, Alvin etc)
The Secret Agent: Homework not finished? Books etc in a mess? Uh-uh. Those are not books, they are secret documents. That's not homework, it's code-breaking. You're a secret agent and those books/papers are Top Secret. They must be kept in a secure location. Get them in order and tidied away so enemy agents won't find them and discover your secrets. Those math problems are easy for a top Spy who can decode secret messages. Your answers are part of an important mission to decode enemy secrets. Another part of your mission is to complete that english homework before in falls into the wrong hands. Rewards: Accurate completion of homework tasks = 10 mins training new Agents (playing with toys). 1 week of completed homework without too much prompting = Secret Adventure (Surprise trip to play zone to practise field skills)
Unless they win the lottery or inherit a fortune, our kids are unlikely to find the success they deserve in life without the ability to work with others. They will achieve their goals in life faster and more easily when they get help from those around them.
Author of 'The Star Dragon'
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