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  • Writer's pictureJessica O'Neil

Making It Happen In March

This month, our focus at Excel Youth is how each one of us can improve ourselves and make it happen. While it is important to improve ourselves for our own sake, improving ourselves can improve others around us.

Whether it be on a basketball team, school project, or just a group of friends trying to get something done, teamwork is key.

Working collaboratively with others benefits you socially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. One study found that team activities improve socialization, inclusion, and self-esteem, which can lead to overall mood elevation and well-being. Some skills linked to mental health include problem-solving, creative and critical thinking, and effective communication, which are all applied when you work as a team. Being a leader is an essential skill to have, but no leader is effective if they are unable to work together.

Let them play. By allowing unstructured time for kids to play on their own, they can naturally develop teamwork skills. When playtime is too heavily supervised or structured, kids don’t get the opportunity to engage in communication and teamwork skills with others. Allowing them space can help them obtain these skills on their own. Here at Excel Youth, kids have both structured and unstructured time to interact with peers.

Teaching them conflict resolution skills. When working with others, everyone is not going to agree with you 100% of the time, and that’s okay! Teaching kids how to deal with conflict once it arises is crucial for good teamwork. Identify the problem once it arises, allow everyone involved to share their perspective and their feelings, then identify possible solutions and compromises. Our ideas are not always the best ones, and it’s important to recognize others feelings and thoughts as well.

Talk about “us.” Children often think in terms of “I” or “Me”, but helping them reframe their thinking to include others makes them a better team player. Helping them understand others’ feelings can make them better empathize and be kind to others. Not everyone has the same mindset or experience you do, and it’s important to recognize our differences when we work together. When we have gained the ability to empathize, we are better at communicating and working together as a team. Empathy building activities are a staple to our programming at Excel Youth.

We MAKE IT HAPPEN so every youth EXCELS!

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