September Character Development: Cooperation
Two opposing teams stand on the cusp of a pit of mud. A single rope with a flag tied to its center snakes through the ranks as the teams face off. Tensions mount as each individual anxiously awaits the dreaded whistle blow which will announce the start to a summer camp favorite: the Tug of War! The goal: Work as a team, pulling as hard as you can so you all don’t end up in the pit of mud.
That “work as a team” part is key. Unfortunately, many of us land in the proverbial “mud” before we realize that working together, cooperating, is key to many of life’s successes.
Transitioning from summer camp fun to school year realities the question emerges: How do we carry the spirit of cooperation into the classroom and into our homes throughout the year?
Unfortunately, cooperation can be a difficult concept to teach to young children. Parents can focus on teaching aspects of cooperation like sharing, taking turns, and working together. Additionally, parents can:
1. Model cooperation: demonstrate how to listen to and incorporate others ideas when working with a spouse, co-worker, or friend.
2. Praise cooperation: when you observe your child working together with a friend, sharing ideas, or collaborating make sure to point out that you see her effort.
3. Practice cooperation: instead of promoting competition through races to complete a task, encourage a joint effort, “Let’s work together to get the job done.”
Looking for daily opportunities to promote cooperation will help your child understand its importance and will assist her through many of life’s challenges. Who knows, maybe she’ll even avoid that “pit of mud.”