Children love to play. They could do that all day. It is good for them. Physical activity makes them healthy and imaginative playing makes them smart. From tag, just jumping around to hide-and-seek, playing pirates or knights and fort building. Playing with other kids can be the start of teaching the importance of teamwork. Play is their way to let out all this boundless energy and imagination. Play helps them develop language, social skills and basic math.
Teamwork would mean differently to a child depending on age. Toddlers don’t really care for it. But tell them you’re playing pirates and he will assign you a job. This is the start of a framework. This is where teaching the importance of teamwork begin. First, that he cannot always be captain. Make them take turns. Making rules, following those rules, taking turns can show them the benefits of compromise. Exposure to different roles can show where their true skills and inclination lies. Playing with others they learn to share and develop kindness.
Patience is not a strong suit with children. This is where they will try to reason, negotiate and try to solve conflicts. Teamwork highlights their strengths and they learn self-regulation if things do not go their way. It teaches how to best make those individual strengths become cohesive and combine it to use in a strategy. Remember two heads are better than one. Most children will want to work on something once they feel that is partly theirs. And since it is not just solely theirs, they will care for it and be responsible. And as second nature, anyone not pulling their weight or being responsible gets called on.
Eventually, one child will emerge as leader. This goes to the one they trust the most. The one they think would move the team forward and make them to become a better team. Seeing a goal completed or a finished task will give them a sense of accomplishment and boost their confidence. That’s a step in the right direction. A step in building a happier child.