Positive Parenting Newsfeed—a Child Trends Project—is Supported by the National Science Foundation

Collaboration Starts Young

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The benefits of teamwork are endless. On large projects, a combined group effort is greater than an individual effort. Researchers say this is something your child may already understand at a very young age.

The next time you think about bailing on a project with your kid, think again! Researchers at Duke University have found that children as young as three years old have a deeper understanding of joint commitments than previously thought. They observed 72 pairs of three-year-olds who were asked to complete a collaborative task. One of the partners in each pair was trained to either quit and walk away from the task, to look like he didn’t know how to play, or to act like the machine was rigged so it would break, preventing him from doing the task correctly.

The researchers found that the three-year-olds understood that the task was a collaboration and responded to their partner appropriately based on the condition. The kids did not like that the partner broke the commitment and quit the task, and tried to teach the partner who didn’t know how to play. This suggests that kids understand the importance of cooperation and parents can help them learn to be good partners.

Also, if you want to get your child to help more, studies have shown that rewarding children doesn’t seem to increase helping behavior. In some cases, rewarding kids actually decreases their motivation to help again.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

facebook twitter instagram tiktok youtube arrow up Play Icon Envelope Arrow Right Arrow Down