Whether you are putting on a play, running a school fundraiser or inventing a breakthrough car, who do you want on your team? This question gets to the heart of one element of the Galileo Innovator’s Mindset: Be Collaborative. Being collaborative is nearly synonymous with being a great teammate.

At Galileo, we believe that being a great teammate starts with a steadfast commitment to a purpose. Armed with that, great contributors bring their unique talents to bear on a project and keep their promises to the group. Moreover, they continually ask, “How can I help?” They don’t get stuck on job descriptions. They do whatever it takes to get the entire group to the finish line.

As they work on their projects together, collaborators also bring their ideas out to play. Collaborators build on each other’s ideas, suspend judgment, and mix and match ideas like atoms connecting to form new molecules. Collaboration becomes bigger than the sum of the parts. Teams with skilled collaborators make it safe for this to happen.

So how do we parents help our kids develop into people who play well—and collaboratively—with others? Here are a few ideas:

Create healthy team dynamics in your own family.

Work together to identify your group norms—what is and isn’t okay, how we work together as a family, daily and weekly rituals. Set the expectation that individuals don’t just get their own stuff done, but also help each other succeed. Offer praise for doing that.

Set the example.

Whenever possible, ask your kids for their ideas or perspectives. Be willing to let go of your own idea. Create situations in which you build on each other’s ideas to get to a 1 + 1 = 3 outcome.

Find group projects for your kids.

For great school year programs that encourage team-based innovation, check out Destination Imagination, First Lego League, Young Makers or Odyssey of the Mind. Encourage your kids to work with others to make a movie, stage a play, create a mural, join a Minecraft club or do a service project. In the summertime, find programs that embrace project-based learning.

Watch a movie portraying collaboration.

Apollo 13, October Sky, Young@Heart, School of Rock, We Are Marshall and the Toy Story series are just a few great examples. There are tons of others, and you can check Common Sense Media reviews for age-appropriateness.

Set a play date.

Create group play situations, and let your kids manage the challenges that arise on their own.

We collaborate with others because doing it effectively takes us to places we couldn’t get on our own. As I often tell the team here at Galileo, there is nothing more rewarding than working hard with a group of like-minded people to do something that matters. Let’s equip our kids to have that experience.


Glen Tripp is the Founder & CEO of Galileo Learning.