Teamwork, and cooperation, and collaboration are a set of soft skills that are required at school, at work, and almost every major area of life. It’s a soft skill that many managers are looking for, and many teachers and guidance counselors have deemed valuable. Do not wait until later to encourage a culture of teamwork– teamwork culture and aspects of it can be implemented right in the home. Here are several ways that you can create a more constructive, cooperative lifestyle right in your home.

Happy Family walking at the sunset

Understanding the role and importance of teamwork at home. Interpersonal relationships are reinforced and success rates skyrocket when there is a sense of teamwork. It is essential to realize that success in any task — professional or otherwise – doesn’t come when strong leader just tells everyone what to do and how to do it. Success comes when a team works together to accomplish a common goal. It’s a compound machine that when done correctly, can be effective in reaching goals promptly.

“It takes two flints to make a fire.” ― Louisa May Alcott

  1. Encourage listening skills. Many children, especially those in the teenage years, tend not to be listened to, but heard — there is a difference between listening and hearing.
  2. Hearing vs. listening. Hearing is passive, with children hearing what they want to hear whenever a person in authority speaks. Active listening is a skill of sympathy and reaching an understanding. Active listening is making the conscious effort to hear not only the words that are being communicated, but also understand the complete message being sent.
  3. Encourage children to understand the whole picture. Listening encourages your children at home to not only hear the words, but also to consider the way it is said, the body language that accompanies the message, and the origin of the message.
  4. Tell and show children that you are listening. To encourage active listening, simply inform those in your home that you are listening to what they are saying, and that you would like that same courtesy to be extended to you too when you speak.
  5. Show children that non-verbal cues matter. Another way to acknowledge and actively listen is to use nonverbal cues to show that you are engaged. A simple nod of the head indicates that your listening. Leaning in and maintaining eye contact with a person who is communicating also encourages active listening. One of the best ways of teaching children is via repetition and mirroring. Try to respond to questions and rally them to continue speaking so that you can get the complete message.
  6. Benefits of active listening for teamwork and cooperation. At the heart of active listening is the management of emotions and how feelings are communicated. Active listening may seem superfluous to some, but it fosters other essential qualities like self-control, awareness, and respect while reinforcing bonds in the home.
  7. Congratulate losers and winners. This can be taken in a literal or philosophical sense. Regardless, it can help foster teamwork. For example, if you tend to be very combative and competitive during your children’s sports games, make it a habit of congratulating the entire team, and point out the effective aspects of the losing team.
    After the game is over, engage other players in addition to your children, reinforcing the idea that one should support the whole team, and not just one player.
  8. The importance of expectations. It’s vital that everyone in the family unit understands what the expectations are — without any underlying of the goals, participation and cooperation will suffer. Make sure to communicate to your children that working as a cohesive unit will help everyone reach their goal much faster and efficiently.
  9. Do not underestimate the power of chores. Chores teach children the value of responsibility and meeting expectations. It can also be used as a vehicle to reinforce positive behavior. Chores make kids feel competent, like they are part of a bigger group, especially if chores are interconnected with a common goal. Whether that means one child gathers laundry while one folds and the other collects the detergent, interconnecting duties can reinforce a sense of teamwork. Pitching in and aiding other family members is a positive aspect that will encourage them to be productive, beneficial citizens. A study by Harvard University showed what psycho-social variables and processes from early life predicts well-being during the adult years, with research finding that children who are given chores are more likely to become well-informed, independent adults.
  10. Interconnected chores with a common goal. There are chores for any person in the household in any age group. For preschoolers, give them simple tasks like picking up toys after they’re done. Make it a team effort by involving yourself or other children. For older, school-age children, encouraging chores that relate to picking up after themselves. For teenagers, you can increase the complexity of the chore to prepare them for the real world. Involve your children in making meal, or doing their part to ensure that the house is clean.

“Only by binding together as a single force will we remain strong and unconquerable.” ― Chris Bradford, The Way of the Dragon