Submitted by Sarah Morris on behalf of Primrose Schools- the highest standard in preschools.
Cooperation is a basic skill that everybody possesses – it’s what allows us all to make friends, collaborate in groups and function in society. We aren’t born with an imbedded sense of sharing or right and wrong, though, babies and toddlers learn by observing the world around them and emulating those who are closest to them.
At around the age of three, children really begin to apply these ideas to their everyday activities by starting to share and take turns with other children.
Sharing and cooperating is especially important for little ones when blending two families together. They may be used to only their own immediate siblings in the house, or to being the only child. Adding other children into the household can be a big change that is made infinitely easier when they are already practiced in these social skills beforehand. One of the first things you can do with your child is to set a good example. Children will emulate everything that they see and hear during their first years of development on, so it’s important that positive models surround them.
Show that by lending a hand with a chore, you’ll be rewarded by getting a task done more quickly and enjoyably. Praise these types of behaviors and explain that everyone benefits when working together- and can go back to having fun after a job well done.
Family projects are a perfect way to model cooperation. For instance, you could all start a garden together or help take care of a pet, like a dog or cat. Everybody should have a designated job. Show your child here that cooperation is key in maintaining the ultimate goal: growing vegetables or making sure that your pet is healthy and happy. It will only work if everybody does their part and works together. Cooperation soup is another good way to model cooperation.
Read a story, like Stone Soup, and point out that to make soup, there must be an even blend of ingredients – every ingredient plays a part. Books are a great way to illustrate the meaning of cooperation. Reading stories that are fun but with a clear moral about cooperating and sharing will inspire children to think about the subject and draw their own conclusions.