Developing Collaboration Skills in Your Child

There is an old saying that goes “No man is an island.” It had been spoken for many years and most are already familiar with it. However, it is a phrase taken from a sermon written by the poet John Donne that goes, “No man is an island, an entire of itself; every man is a piece of a continent, a part of the main..” And while in a truly competitive world, everyone is working on themselves, it’s sometimes forgotten that working effectively with other people is a crucial and essential component in our lives.

We all need to learn how to communicate effectively with people and treat them with respect when collaborating with them as a part of a group, a team in school, and even in your family. It’s understandable that teaching collaboration and cooperation may be more difficult and it can be easier said than done, but these are two of the most essential principles for children to acquire and develop in order for them to work with others in the future. Children will continuously be exposed to other children and other activities so they will need to understand the principles that come with working with other people.

Why collaboration matters

Collaboration skills are essentially a fundamental skill at this point. There are several things in life that are built on getting along and connecting with people that at some point, it may be taken for granted. Adults know in their workplace how important collaborating with one another can be, may it be with brainstorming or even in the actual hands-on. This isn’t also only relevant in the workplace; it can also be seen at home and in the community.

Children will need to be able to work with others and it doesn’t matter what career path they choose. Working in a group and as part of a group will help children develop all other variety of skills such as social and communication skills. They will also learn other values such as patience, compassion, respect, and even tolerance.

Okay, so how exactly can you teach your child these principles? Don’t fret because we have some ways that will help you teach your child the power of cooperation and collaborative skills.

1. Start at home

Children start learning at home and that means that all the vital skills we want them to acquire and develop at an early age should also be taught at home. As the child is growing up, make sure to keep them involved in the household and let them be a part of the household’s activities and achievements in order to teach about cooperation.

Let them be a part of the household by giving them minimal and easy chores such as sweeping the floor or tidying up their rooms. Even arranging their toys can also be a part of their chores. These can be small tasks that will help them feel included in the general household. They will feel they have a share in the activities of the house, no matter how small these can be. Also, remember that a child learns mostly by watching so also keep in mind to they will most likely imitate what they see. When the child grows older and can handle more tasks, you can also add to their chores. As such, find an effective method to communicate with them and interact with the child in activities together to teach them these important skills. 

2. Discuss the importance of collaboration

Socializing is also a very important part of the process of teaching your child collaboration skills. Make sure your child also has peers their age they can socialize with. They also need the chance to speak with children their age to exercise their collaboration skills. However, conversations with your child can add value. Help them understand the importance of collaboration and don’t forget to praise them when they are exerting good collaboration skills. Describe to them how their actions can impact their team’s overall standing and how important it is to continue what they are doing for the good of their team.

3. Playing games

Applying previously learned skills also works well in situations to teach children collaboration skills and cooperation. The most common activity that can utilize this would be playing games. Children are naturally already very active and with games they can also socialize with other kids. As an example, they can play puzzles or board games with other kids and apply the skills and knowledge they have also previously learned. There are a variety of games that children can play in order for them to use their skills and also to get along with other children their age.

As such, in playing games, it would be a good idea to have a set of standards in the team activities so everyone understands the basic rules such as taking turns and sharing with the other kids. Additionally, even with an adult supervising, it’s also important to make sure the children are involved in the rulemaking and it would even be more successful if they come up with the rules themselves. Aside from the actual game, they will already be exercising their collaborative skills by making the rules of their game.

4. Signing them for a sports team

Aside from the physical benefit of sports, it can also be a way for children to practice and nurture their collaborative skills. And while young children may have a harder time grasping the concept of teamwork in the field versus older children, they can still master a new sport and slowly understand how to use those abilities when they are under the guidance of a supportive team setting. Of course, sports may not be the best place for your young child to learn how to work with others. But they wouldn’t stay young forever and the abilities they will acquire along the way will serve their purpose as they grow older. They will learn the importance of being a part of a team, listening to their coach, and putting in their hard work.

5. Joining co-curricular activities

If your child tends to dislike or have no interest in sports, you can also opt to encourage them to join co-curricular activities instead. Co-curricular activities aren’t just something they can join for the sake of, but they can also teach children valuable life and social skills. It’s also an added bonus that extra-curricular activities also allow your child to meet with new peers and widen their social circle. They will get to meet new friends and interact with all sorts of people and it’s also a good way for them to take some time off from just studying. While still being fun, educational and will help them pick up new hobbies, co-curricular can also help children destress from academics.

6. Working on their self-confidence

Traits such as shyness or bossiness or being a sore loser can lead young children to struggle with cooperation and collaboration with other people. It can be difficult for them or it can be difficult for those around them. Either way, it will not be fun for them and can also cause their self-confidence to dwindle if nothing is done about it. Fortunately, adults can help assist to elevate problems in situations like this and help children become good team players.

• Help boost their self-assurance

Traits such as shyness or bossiness or being a sore loser can lead young children to struggle with cooperation and collaboration with other people. It can be difficult for them or it can be difficult for those around them. Either way, it will not be fun for them and can also cause their self-confidence to dwindle if nothing is done about it. Fortunately, adults can help assist to elevate problems in situations like this and help children become good team players.

• Show positive examples

As been reiterated many times, children also learn by imitation and seeing what adults around them do. To use this to an advantage, parents can also fill the programs that their children watch with characters that teach teamwork and collaboration. This way they can see the importance of those skills as well as follow these key characters in good ways.

• Ask for help

Teaching your child collaboration skills isn’t a one-man job. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are worried your child may have some other underlying issues that hamper with them socializing with other people. Get guidance from your child’s school and discuss with their teacher ways to help your child improve. However, keep in mind that it’s not always an easy thing to do. Even fully grown adults can have a difficult time working well with others and most children will improve through time and with practice.


Collaboration skills have been a sought-after soft skill in the workplace for the past years and have become a staple even as it fosters empathy and improves learning and working capacities. Teamwork is a crucial quality that students require to have and develop in order to succeed in today’s world. There are many great opportunities for students to exercise this skill and nurture it further for the child’s benefit. And as parents, it’s also your responsibility to help your child down the right path to success.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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