Collaboration and Communication are very important 21st-century skills. These skills set you apart from others. So, what exactly do these words mean?
Communication: the exchange of information and the expression of feeling that can result in understanding
Collaboration: developing the ability to work in diverse and different groups, to learn from others and contribute to the learning of others.
So, what are you waiting for, read on to find out ways in which we can start inculcating these skills in our children!
If your child is 6 years and below:
Divide up the chores and assign them tasks that they can do - Get your child to help you set the table or dust the shelves. This will make them feel like a part of the team and responsible for the running of the house. Once the tasks are completed successfully, don’t forget to thank them for their effort.
People can have different perspectives and opinions - It is not about whose opinion is better, but the important thing is to understand that it’s just different. For example, your child thinks pizza is the best food and their friend thinks burgers are the best. Both are correct in their own way. Help them understand that you can like different things and still be friends.
If your child is from 6 to 10 years:
Opportunity to express their opinion - Allowing them to say what they think encourages self-confidence. Talk to them as adults, but it does not mean use adult vocabulary, information. It means to take turns, use eye contact, and value what they say. Communication requires kids to reflect on their feelings. Ask your child’s opinion about relevant topics such as: “Do you think everyone should have a pet?” “Why do you like Mathematics?” Use phrases such as ‘I think’, ‘I feel’ to have conversations.
Encourage conversation - Play a game of ‘catch’. For example Player 1: Throws a ball while asking a question, “How’s school”? Player 2: Catches the ball and answers the question. But before throwing the ball back player 2 must ask another question on the same topic.
If your child is from 11 to 17 years:
Model positive behaviour - it helps teens voice their feelings but in a nice way. For example, if your child gets angry when dinner is not ready in time, encourage them by acknowledging their feelings. “I know you are hungry. Why don’t you help me lay the table so we can get you food faster?” This talk will give them the confidence to express their feelings but at the same time do it in a polite way.
Involve your teen in setting the rules - For instance, if they don’t like that you are giving a strict bedtime since they can’t get up in the morning, talk to them and mutually agree on a way out! Talk about the consequences of the action and discuss how the solution will help. This will change the argument and make your child a much more effective communicator.
Get on the same side - It is often seen that parents ‘nag’ their children about being more serious at school or spend less time watching tv or playing video games. Teens often turn a deaf ear and perceive their parents as their enemies. Talk to them about their future plans and ask them how you as a parent can help them achieve their goals. Check in on them from time to time to see if things are on track. Praise their efforts and talk to them about how they could have done things differently when they didn’t reach their goals.
When you teach your kids how to work with others and communicate effectively, you are setting them up for success.
-Ridhima Somaiya and Radhika Sista, Teachers British Council