Teaching kids how to work as a team is vital to their development
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People are always asking us how do we get our kids to get along so well.
My husband and I always laugh because at our house this is just their normal behavior. However, when we go to family outings, the family is always so impressed with how the girls behave with one another. The truth is at home we promote teamwork. We did this from day one.
Our daughters are 3 years apart with our oldest being 11 and our youngest being 5. The gaps in age although not that far off, can still be challenging for most siblings to stay connected and value one another.
The following are tips that we use in our household to keep our kids working as a team.
Kids are sponges and they absorb what you teach them. All too often there are too many parents that are focusing on academics. They are too caught up on what grades they want their kids to get. Or how impressive their vocabulary is because of all the hours they spend with sight cards and flash cards. All of that is great, it really is, but what is more important is the non cognitive skills. These are transferable skills that are cultivated early on and are extremely valuable to a persons character.
One of those skills that we preach at home is Team Work. We have taught our girls from very early on that our family is our team. As a team is how we are going to move forward and how we are able to accomplish anything we want in life. Instead of working in different directions, we as a family, will work together. To take it a step further, we made them understand that as sisters they are the ultimate team. Eventually as parents, we will be gone and they will still be in this world together. This is where it becomes vital for the girls to be there for one another. Kids need to understand things and sometimes just saying something is not enough, they need to see it. Leadership.
Lead by Example
As parents, our responsibility is to raise our children to be the best version of themselves. We want for them to be better than we were. As parents we want for them to reach goals that we couldn’t. We want to offer our guidance and wisdom to them so that they can go further in their lives. But, all of this will never translate to children. Children don’t learn by what we say, they learn by what we do. We are their mentors, their idols, their role models. They absorb what they see us doing on a daily basis.
My husband and I make sure that we stay on the same page when it comes to this. We are not perfect, but we make a strong effort to always stay self aware and be cognizant of the fact that our children are always listening and always watching. This means that there is no fooling them.
Kids will model what they see. Therefore we need to hold ourselves accountable. We need to make sure to handle our own relationship of husband and wife as a team. We work together, we communicate, we promote, we support, we inspire. And when times become difficult, we pick each other up. When there are things that need to get done, we team up and we knock them out. We treat one another with respect and most of all we love each other. This is the most effective way to teach teamwork. You lead by example.
Clean Up Together
With three kids in the house the place can get messy rather quickly. It seems like we never stop cleaning and picking up. This is a great opportunity to put team work into practice. Cleaning up their rooms is such a basic responsibility that most kids know that they need to do. In our house, this gets done first thing in the morning or whenever we see that it needs to be done, which like I mentioned can be often. We like to send the girls to pick up their rooms together.
In our case, our kids share the same room so when we them to go pick up their room, they know they all have to go and work together. This has worked out because we have learned through experience that picking up their room is challenging for them. Our kids love to take toys out and play, but they are never excited to put things back and pick up. I don’t blame them. However, the challenges that arise from them having to clean up together presents the perfect opportunity to coach them. To teach them how to work together and show them time and time again how much efficiency there is when you work as a team.
To improve any behavior you need some sort of knowledge and expertise. As parents we hold that knowledge and expertise through our experience and if you don’t have it then a blog like ours is perfect because we provide that value to you through our own experience.
If you want to improve the way your kids interact with one another then you need to always be aware. You need to be listening as much as possible and you need to be watching as much as possible. Now, we clearly have alot going on in our adult life. But, you still need to be as aware as possible. When you hear your kids yelling, arguing, or carrying an attitude that is not helping the team, then its your turn to blow the whistle, call for a time out and coach them on how they are currently behaving. Then coach them on how they can change that behavior to become a better team player.
Playtime is Together time
When our kids have some free time during their busy schedules all they want to do is their own thing. Whether that is going to play with toys, or watch tv, or swing in the backyard. Our kids know that whatever they choose to do, it is something that they are going to do together. They know that they are a team and as a team they stick by one another. They never leave a sister feeling left out or feeling alone. That is just how we roll here. This takes a lot of coaching because there will always be a disagreement. However, the stronger and more consistent that you are with your coaching, the faster they start to understand.
Everything is about repetition, consistency, and practice
Raising kids is something that requires time and patience. It takes time for flowers bloom after you have planted the seeds. You still need to water them, they need the proper environment, sunlight, and care. The same thing applies to children. Children require consistency in order to properly learn and grow. The reason so many people are impressed by how well the girls bond together, is because it is something that they want and admire. But they are not applying the consistency towards achieving it. If you want to improve your child’s behavior in any way shape or form, these principles can help you but there needs to be a high level of consistency in your efforts. Learning to work as a team, is something that we learn over time.
Have patience with your children
Kids can stress you out and if you have more than one, this only amplifies. Understand that anything you want out of your kids is going to require time and patience. They are learning to ride a “bike” and that “bike” is called life. They are going to hop on the bike and then fall off, bang themselves up, get discouraged and frustrated and that is where we coach and encourage to get back on and give it one more shot. As parents we can never give up on anything. The moment we give up or let something slide, those little eyes that are glued to you, will start to believe that giving up is ok. Have patience, and give it another go, just understand that for anything to improve it takes time.
Kids need physical activity. They need to be active and they need to be challenged. A great place to learn teamwork is signing up your child for group sports. Sports have great benefits. Many parents I hear talk about sports like it’s just for their kid to have something to do. This is true, but there is so much more.
Sports teach your kids about necessary skills that are extremely valuable to their survival as people. Sports teach kids about discipline; doing something that needs to be done regardless of how they feel. Sports teach consistency in the time the kids need to put into their practices to get better at their sport. Most of all, sports teach teamwork and resiliency. By having kids work together to achieve a common goal, it provides them an understanding of how each person has a role. That role is important in order to win as a team.
My husband and I take the topic of teamwork very seriously in our house and it has really helped our children understand teamwork. But most of all, I believe that we truly are a team. When kids truly believe that they are a part of a team, they go out of their way to protect their teammates and they put forward their best work because they know that what they do helps their family.