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If you've ever coached a little league team, after school sport, or just tried to get a group of kids to work together on a single project, you probably know that getting kids to work together can sometimes be a challenge. The important thing to remember is that it's in their nature to try to be independent, and don't get frustrated or lose your cool. Teaching kids teamwork is an art in itself, and takes some fundamental practices and know-how on your own prior to leading the children. Here are a few tips on getting a group of kids to work together, no matter what the project.
1. Give each child an independent job.
Giving a child an independent job and title makes them feel important, and helps keep their attention focused on a specific goal that they can hone in on.
2. Tell the group that they are all apart of the team.
It's important to explain to each child that they are all apart of the team, and no single member is to be left out.
3. Tell the group that no one can accomplish the goal alone, and that they all need each other.
It's easy for a child to believe that they can do something on their own, or that they don't need anyone else. By explaining to them that this is a very big task, and it takes everyone's effort helps the children understand that they need each other and must work together.
4. Set some ground rules for misbehaving.
It's important for the children to know that if one child misbehaves the whole group suffers. Some children don't mind upsetting an adult or authority figure by misbehaving, but most kids will stop misbehaving if their fellow friends and group members don't approve of it.
5. Reward good behavior
Anytime a child or the group makes an accomplishment, reward them immediately. Even if this reward is a simple pat on the back or telling them "good job" it makes them feel good about the work they've done and encourages more good behavior and teamwork.