John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island.” Focusing that idea on our topic of your child’s career, we can quote AFB CareerConnect’s positive work habits lesson plan, “A work environment is almost always a team environment. Getting along with others and pulling (one’s) weight on the job is imperative. In most cases, an employee who does not work well with others or consistently lets the team down will be replaced.”

To prepare for success on employment teams, your child will need to learn positive work habits that promote responsibility and teamwork, communication skills that promote respectful listening and speaking, and how to negotiate for assistance.

Your child will also need to determine the skills or strengths she can bring to each group and each group project. The best way to become a good team member is to practice.

Ideas That Encourage Collaboration

  • Instead of assigning only individual chores to your children, assign some or all chores to be accomplished by sibling teams.
  • Play team games as a family.
  • Include your children in dinnertime preparation by assigning tasks.
  • Provide materials that encourage participation in informal group activities with her friends. Examples include materials for a joint construction project, art project, or a musical band.
  • Encourage your child to join a team sport.
  • Your entire family can join a group volunteer effort.
  • Promote group discussions at mealtimes and throughout the day.
  • Plan vacations, family days, or family activities together.
  • Solve relational or other problems as a family.
  • Divide the grocery list and have your child search for some of the items.
  • Encourage your child to be a contributing member of her IEP team.

As you increase your child’s exposure to group work within your family and community, talk about the benefits of learning to collaborate. Discuss the positive work habits she is acquiring. Chat about the communication strengths and shortcomings you notice. Walk her through the process of negotiating assistance. Give your child opportunities to evaluate her abilities and talents.

Don’t hesitate to tell your child what you’re learning through collaborating and how you are working on the components of collaboration that are personally challenging.