We can’t all be great at everything, but everyone can excel at something. Building upon one another’s strengths is the most powerful way to gain personal advancement as well as the advancement of society as a whole. Teaching children how to develop collaboration skills is an invaluable lesson that will guide them and empower them for the rest of their lives. Collaboration is so much more than simply getting along. It’s the ability to recognize our own strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths and weaknesses in others, and then use those traits to work seamlessly together for the greater good of a project or community. Learning collaboration skills during childhood can shape their future for the better and give them a greater outcome personally and professionally.
When your child has grown up and it’s time to join the workforce, those collaboration skills they learned as a child will follow them and guide them into their careers. Skills like communication, negotiation, teamwork, interpersonal skills, social skills, and cultural competence can all be perfected while collaborating with others during childhood.
Throughout our lifetimes, we constantly have to interact with people from different backgrounds, different skill sets, and different opinions. This can be challenging for anyone but it’s especially challenging for adults who never learned how to work in partnership with others or capitalize on the strengths of other people. Children who can collaborate become adults who can collaborate, and this type of teamwork lends itself to better networking for career advancement and a higher likelihood of being recognized as a leader who’s able to identify and leverage the strengths of everyone in their team.
The world as a whole is constantly battling a variety of challenges. While language gaps, distance, and cultural beliefs present barriers, people who are able to collaborate are more likely to find ways to adapt and overcome. Each culture brings a unique set of skills and beliefs that enables them to approach global issues from different angles. Children today literally have the world at their fingertips and the children who learn to collaborate with people from outside their typical social circle can form more holistic opinions and understand the world from other points of view, thus making them global citizens who can create lasting change.
As children work alongside their peers, they’re able to see things from other points of view. Listening to their peers’ opinions, ideas, and viewpoints can open a child’s eyes to other solutions that they may not have seen on their own. Children of course have their own individual experiences in life that help to form who they are. These experiences build resilience, cautiousness, kindness, compassion, and play an important role in their ability to problem solve. Children working in collaboration together get to experience thoughts from their peers’ point of view and appreciate the differences in their thought process as well as the life experiences that help them form their ideas.
Parents can encourage children to develop their collaboration by interacting with siblings, cousins, friends, or neighbors whenever possible. When interacting with other children isn’t an option, inviting your children to problem solve along with you is a good way to help them stretch their minds, challenge new ideas, and gain insight into working with others. Ask your children for feedback on tasks or decisions and thank them for their ideas.
Collaboration is more than simply sharing or getting along. It’s a deep-rooted skill that requires constant evolving as children grow and learn to work with new people in new situations to solve new problems. Building the foundations early in life can set up their future for the greatest likelihood of personal and professional success.