The Easter weekend this year has proved busy for us and has been a few days of the family pulling together to dig up parts of the garden to make a new patio area, tidy up fences, spread bag after bag of bark, paint inside rooms and external doors as well as cooking, cleaning and the humdrum household chores that carry on regardless of the extra-curricular activities. With the power of four willing teenagers though and a raked in friend, and a couple of dedicated grandparents, a large part of the list has now been ticked off and yet again teamwork has prevailed to get through such a mesmerizing list in such a small amount of time. But why is teamwork, such as this, good for children, and what do they learn and gain from the experience?
Essentially human beings are a social breed, dependent on interactions with each other, not only for survival, but also for happiness and success. As such, then, working co-operatively together towards a shared purpose creates a better environment and more positive atmosphere for life generally. The key is, therefore, to help children move from an insular and individual way of thinking (intrapersonal) to one that enables an ability to communicate with others (interpersonal). A key mechanism in facilitating this is encouraging teamwork, but critically not only from an early age, but throughout childhood and through adolescence.
At school, many activities, seek to do just this, but encouraging teamwork at home can also bring siblings together, helping them interact with each other, exchange ideas and actions. From establishing projects that they can work together at, to more fun events and playing games where they mix their skill bases to achieve a “solution” helps them increase their respect of each other’s abilities and also each other’s opinions. It also helps them appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses to work together to achieve their goals together as a team. In doing so, they also develop communication skills that additionally help improve their self-confidence. This then not only helps with their social skills, but also is good for their emotional well-being.
In the inclusive environment that is teamwork, children can learn how to support each other, by solving problems together, working in some instances to resolve conflicts that occur on the way and to manage coping strategies to work towards a common end. In achieving that end they then play an active part in their long term health and happiness in relationships. Teamwork is therefore a vital skill in all areas of life.
So after a full weekend of chores and working together the garden’s looking great, the rooms are decorated and the front door is standing proud in its fresh coat of paint! Now the only challenge for our teenage team is to navigate the Easter Egg Hunt that’s set out across the county drawing on the skills of the oldest one to drive, the next to read the map, the next to interpret the clues and the youngest to find the chocolate hidden in away in obscure car parks over a 10 mile area!