Is your child a team player? Do they happily help out at home with chores, play inclusively with their friends at school, and show empathy? Or are they busy showing off and being the star of the show? How do you show your child that there is no “I” in TEAM? Here’s How to Raise a Good Team Player.
I’m going to use a soccer analogy here!
Current French football manager Didier Deschamps won the World Cup and European Championship as well as being captain of Les Bleus and a winner of the Champions League with Marseille, not to mention winning silverware with Juventus, Chelsea and others. But despite the many glittering accolades, many fans remember Deschamps for a comment made about him by Eric Cantona who described Deschamps as the “Water Carrier” in 1996, meaning that he was merely there to doggedly win the ball and pass it on to more gifted teammates. The label stuck.
Deschamps wasn’t the biggest or fastest. He was never the most skillful in his teams and was rarely noticed, surrounded as he was by players such as Del Piero, Henry and Papin. But few would argue that his career and the careers of those around him flourished because he knew his role as a team player.
Deschamps is not unusual. If you only had a team full of superstars, all of whom demand that the ball be passed to them, then that team would quickly fall flat on its face. Team players are essential to the team!
A True Team Player – Cog of Machine
The true team player is one who accepts what he is and accepts his role as being one cog of a machine with many different and equally important parts.
You can see true team players in sporting arenas around the world (check out the types of cool tours organised by InvicTour Sports and other companies), but guess what? They also exist in the workplace, at school, at parent association meetings.
There are always those who love giving flamboyant speeches and are the loudest, but they must be backed up by organised, diligent types who do ‘the dirty work’ such as stacking chairs and helping to put signs up.
So how do you raise a ‘team player’ without belittling and criticising? How do you suggest that his or her part in the team is to joyfully make up the numbers? And if you have a gifted star on your hands, how do you convince them of the importance of those with lesser talents?
Tips on How to Raise a Good Team Player
Some young people will forever plough a lone furrow and not understand the team ethos. But most will learn through experience. Life teaches you better than anything how to fit into part of a team, but here are a few ways that parents can help their child along:
#1. Teach Them to Work Together at Home
A child with brothers and sisters will have an immediate experience of team environment, in that they’ll probably have to share jobs, toys and parents’ time.
If it’s an only child, teach them to do things together with you, show them that you won’t do everything for them and they have to work with you.
#2. Ensure They Do Chores
Even from a young age, get your kids involved in jobs around the house. Even young toddlers can be taught to tidy away their toys after playing.
Develop a list of daily jobs for your child that are suitable for their age, and explain to them that everyone has to pull together to help out around the house.
Vary the list from week to week to keep it interesting, and you can turn it in to some fun with the ChoreMonster App.
#3. Teach them to Share
Whether it’s at school, nursery, or even before, it’s important to teach a child to share. Sharing is important in any team exercise, whether you’re sharing experiences, sharing knowledge or sharing work, all will make a child more confident in their abilities and more comfortable with their team.
#4. Play Team Games at Home
Games or role play that has kids working together as a team are always worthwhile.
It can be as simple as the first person writing a few lines of a story, folding the page over to leave only the last line they wrote visible, and then next person then writing their few lines, folding over and so on. Each child continues the story only knowing one sentence, and the end results are usually hilarious.
Or get your kids to stage a show for you – they will have to work together to create the production, and will quickly realise that they can’t all be the lead role. You might need to lead them a bit and teach them to take turns in the different roles.
More ideas in 20 Great Childhood Games
#5. Involve Them in Extracurricular Team Activities
Any sort of extra curricular team or activity is great for ingraining teamwork into a child. It could be anything from a sports team to Girl Guides, as all will involve team building exercises. It’s important for children to be around other children in a fun team atmosphere from an early age.
You might also like our articles on Football & Rugby for Kids
#6. Teach Them Everyone is Unique
In school, group activities in the classroom and on the field will sort out participants into followers and leaders, into talents, grafters or neither, into analytical thinkers and free spirits, and many other types.
Youngsters will appreciate their strengths and weaknesses, and learn how different types of people offer different things. Parents and teachers will explain that everyone is unique. Some people are naturally talented at a certain skill, and others have to work at it.
The sooner a person can learn this, and recognise where they fit into a structure populated by more than one person, the sooner they will become a successful part in a team structure.
Just like Didier Deschamps – France’s most decorated player!