What parents can do to help their player be a good teammate

By Janis Meredith | Posted 1/23/2017

Although it’s true that some kids are naturally more amiable and cooperative than others, every child needs to learn more about teamwork. Last week we talked about the importance of cooperation and teamwork and this week I’m going to give you some very practical ways to help your kids work on building those traits.

Try some of these team-building ideas in your home.

  • Work on household chores at the same time, so that family members can work together to finish them. Better yet, work on one big project all together.
  • Initiate a fun project that includes every family member, such as a garden, jigsaw puzzle, or dinner preparation.
  • When your child does cooperate, thank them and encourage their effort.
  • Talk about it at dinner. Ask a question like, when did someone’s cooperative attitude help you? Or how does cooperation help our family run smoothly?
  • Watch a favorite T.V. show or movie together and discuss whether the main character has a cooperative attitude. Would more cooperation change the outcome of the plot?
  • Encourage your kids to listen to each other without interrupting.

As your child learns about teamwork at home, that attitude can translate to the sports field, and the teamwork he learns there can translate back to your home. Through youth sports, you have a great opportunity to affirm what you are trying to teach at home and vice versa.

The famous line “No man is an island” was penned by the poet John Donne in 1624. The fact that we still quote it over 400 years later speaks to its simple but powerful truth. Neither your kids on their teams, nor you in your homes and jobs can succeed alone.

Teach your kids to be independent and strong, but don’t teach them to be islands. Help them understand the impact that cooperation will have as they play sports and in all other areas of life as they grow up–jobs, homes, communities.

“Life is not a game of Solitaire; people depend on one another. When one does well, others are lifted. When one stumbles, others also are impacted. There are no one-man teams—either by definition or natural law. Success is a cooperative effort; it’s dependent upon those who stand beside you.”― Jon M. Huntsman Sr., Essential Lessons on Leadership

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.