Cooperation is a basic life skill that allows us to make friends, work successfully in groups and get along well with others. Unfortunately though, babies are not born knowing how to cooperate or share, this ability is learned through interactions and experiences with parents and other significant care givers. Around age three, children begin to practice real cooperation through their play by sharing and taking turns.
“Cooperation and sharing are key character traits that teach children how to get along with others,” said Dr. Mary Zurn (V.P. of education for Primrose Schools). “Parents and teachers encourage and model these traits because they are critical for children to understand. They help children to form friendships and to have harmonious and respectful interactions with others. Sharing is a necessary daily activity that builds a foundation for positive character development and is a common thread that runs through caring, cooperation, generosity and citizenship.”
Here are a few tips that parents can use to teach children cooperation skills at home:
Model Cooperative Behavior: You are your child’s first teacher, and your behavior greatly influences the way your child acts and feels. Modeling cooperative behavior and talking to your child about lending a helping hand sets the expectation that these are important values. For example, you could say “If we work together to clean up the kitchen after dinner, we’ll all be able to listen to the new book you borrowed from the library.”
Family Projects: Plan a family project that includes a task for each family member, such as starting a vegetable or flower garden, mapping out the family vacation or playing a game. Help them see the fun in working together to accomplish a goal.
Cooperation Soup: Cooking is a perfect time to learn about cooperation because children can actively help by gathering ingredients, measuring, mixing and then serving and eating.
Making Music: The way children respond to music is magical. Listen to a short piece of music and discuss how the members of the chorus, band or orchestra worked together to make a beautiful sound. It’s easy to gather a simple set of rhythm instruments that children can use to keep time with the music or just sing along with a song on a CD. If you record their production, they will love hearing it over and over knowing that they accomplished it together.
Submitted by Emily Patterson on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, they have helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early child care services and education. Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® preschool curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Emily has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.
(Disclosure: This post was submitted by an advertiser on MakingTimeForMommy.com.)