Cooperation is a very important life skill that needs to be established in childhood. Cooperation allows children to collaborate and work together to achieve goals or to solve problems.  When children who are good cooperators can listen to each other without interrupting   They are more encouraging of others joining their game or activity. They can more effectively take turns. They can switch roles during play from a leader to a follower.  They may be better at solving problems in a calm way and they have a better focus on group goals and team success.

There is some fun and easy ways to help your child to learn cooperation.  One way is by something that we call ‘Synchrony’.  Synchrony means to be doing something simultaneously.  When a child is in ‘sync’ with their parent they are doing something in a co-ordinated manner, and at the same point in time.  Scientists believe that being in-sync helps a child to learn cooperation.  To stay in-sync the child needs to pay close attention to the other person and respond quickly to their changes.  They believe that when a child is in-time with another person it improves their social interactions.
We have seen this effect with music training.  Children who are in-sync with the music show more positive behaviours such as helping, sharing and empathising.  Activities that boost these skills include things such as marching to the beat of a song.  You could also use clapping games, percussion or dancing.
There is some brand new research that shows that other ways of being in-sync, such as swinging on the playground swing set, also may be teaching kids how to cooperate and get along with one another! When pairs of four year olds were asked to swing in unison on swings next to each other they were better at cooperating afterward.  The children were faster at completing tasks that required cooperation and showed improved communication with one another.

Cooperation skills are important because they improve social skills (getting along) and problem solving.  They allow children to work together to achieve goals that they could not achieve on their own.  They help children to integrate into formal setting like school or sports programs.

So, if you would like to help your child to improve their cooperation skills, then why not try some synchronous movement?  Moving in time to another person or in time to music is an easy way for you to make a big difference in their development.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Tal-Chen Rabinowitch, Andrew N. Meltzoff. Synchronized movement experience enhances peer cooperation in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 2017; 160: 21 DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.03.001