As children grow, they move through distinct developmental stages that impact how they interact with the people and the world around them.
While parents are often interested in noting developmental milestones as first steps or the first time child eats all the meal, there are also some social achievements that your child will move through, which need to be mentioned, as cooperation skills.
Being cooperative is a very important life skill. It means collaborating in typical social settings, like school, sports, and work, and that is why acquiring cooperation ability is essential to reach success in social environments.
Most of the work to become cooperative is played in childhood, and learning it is a goal that can get reached through a specific step of children’s development: cooperative play.
What is cooperative play?
Cooperating is about working together and helping others, sharing responsibilities. Cooperative play involves children playing and working with others towards a common goal or purpose.
Before your children reach this stage, you should expect to see them move through an earlier stage of play. For the first couple of years of their lives, kids will happily play alongside others without acknowledgement or interaction. Children aged three are more inclined to play with others. However, between the ages of four and five, they are more engaged in cooperative play. They are ready to share their toys and understand the importance of rules.
When kids cooperate, they have more positive social interactions and better skilled to make and keep friends. Parents and teachers can help their children develop the skills needed for positive social connections by teaching and encouraging cooperation play early.
How to promote cooperative play
As a parent, you should propose a cooperative family pattern. From cooking to shopping, it is important to divide tasks and show how the family can benefit from collaborative work. Involving them in household chores encourages your little ones to create a first model of teamwork.
Moreover, parents can foster cooperative play by creating an environment with tools and activities to share.
You can find some examples below of activities that encourage children to play together and cooperate on a specific task. Through them, they will begin to learn how to interact with others, follow instructions and prepare themselves for the upcoming stages of learning.
We have already talked about how much children love cooking together with their parents. Cooking together improves the family relationship, did you know it? In addition, small-group cooking activities are a fun way to divide work and practice skills. You have to assign roles to each child, such as measuring the flour, counting the number of eggs, pouring the milk, or stirring. You must let the children understand that each of their efforts is essential to move on to the next step of the recipe, so they understand that their work is helpful for the ultimate goal: a family dinner!
In the kitchen, children have to wait their turn, follow directions and share responsibility! A healthy salad can be much tastier when prepared with four hands!
Beyond the fun, assembling a puzzle with someone else requires cooperation and communication.
While putting together puzzles, little ones have the chance to practice their social skills. From resolving a disagreement to asking for help finding a piece, kids learn important lessons as they work with each other.
You can model social skills by doing a puzzle with your kids. For example, while assembling the Solar System Puzzle, you can use courtesy words and polite language to ask for a piece or suggest a strategy to complete this entertaining puzzle featuring solid-wood planet pieces, a glowing LED sun, and a poster with all the planet names.
Before you know it, your kid will try out these good practices when working with others.
Role-playing can be a great way to teach cooperation because it allows parents to support the skill development of their children while sharing some specific and real tasks to complete. Role Play is important for the development of children. It helps them develop empathy and imagination, becoming more independent. It encourages them to face ever-new challenges and often seek a solution by comparing with others, working together in a real team.
If the task is to build the doghouse for the family’s puppy, Master Workbench gives the possibility to little builders to share their big ideas and divide tasks such as screw bolts and link connectors. Large buildings demand great teamwork!
Another fun and educational activity for teaching to work as a team is gardening. Try it with your kids, and have fun together planting flowers!
While you are doing it, children can have individual responsibilities such as digging holes, putting seeds in them and watering. In addition, it also provides the opportunity for continued cooperation and responsibility. For example, assign days to water plants, and say to them how worth is their work.
They can practise their gardening skill with the Gardeners Greenhouse Playset, a fantastic way to start learning about nature and how to grow their plants.
Having company when working is much more fun!
Through play, children can learn that sharing tasks and effort is a healthy way to achieve a goal.
What activity do you want to start from to teach your kids how to work in a team?
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