Today’s post features guest author Sean Akers, PsyD, a licensed clinical pediatric psychologist here at Children’s.
Teamwork is a skill that’s critical in so many arenas, from work to volunteerism to family activities. And childhood is a great time to hone that skill.
One of the main way kids learn teamwork is sports. But when your child is being treated for cancer—or even after treatment has ended—sports might not be an option.
So how can you nurture your child’s sense of teamwork? Fortunately, there are many ways to do this aside from enrolling her in a sports league. Here’s why teamwork skills are important—and how to build your child’s skills.
Why Having Strong Teamwork Skills Matters
On the most basic level, teamwork skills are important because we are social beings. We have to be able to work with other people in order to survive.
But I think teamwork is also emphasized more today than it was in the past. This means it’s even more important than before to have a good grasp on these skills.
This is especially true in schools. When I was growing up, my classmates and I didn’t work in teams much. But my own kids work in teams at their school all the time. And then that increased emphasis on teamwork carries over to the workplace as kids grow up into adults.
Nurturing Teamwork Skills Within Your Family
A good place to start to build your child’s teamwork skills is with the original team: the family.
Teaching teamwork from a family perspective means instilling in your child skills like:
These are all skills that children will use throughout their lives.
To encourage teamwork within the family setting, you might want to have your child organize an event—like an outing to the zoo or a family game night. Let him set up the roles each family member will take on.
The act of planning this sort of event is a chance for him to build his leadership skills. And during the event, you as a parent can model teamwork skills for him and his siblings to learn from—all while still having fun together.
Other Ways To Build Your Child’s Teamwork Skills When Sports Aren’t An Option
There are lots of other activities beyond sports that can nurture your child’s sense of teamwork.
For example, my kids’ high school requires them to complete volunteer work in order to graduate. Volunteering is a great way to build and exercise teamwork skills. This is because everybody has a role in volunteer work, and they’re all working together to reach a goal.
And volunteering is such a rewarding activity. Knowing that their actions are making a noticeable difference in their community—or even the wider world—is so encouraging to kids.
Other organizations—like student council or extracurricular clubs—are also good for kids. These groups tend to have an identifiable structure or hierarchy that makes it easy to work on teamwork skills.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.