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How to Deal with Study Buddy Issues

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Creating a plant-cell collage with a partner seems like fun, and there are benefits to teaming up: “It exposes kids to different learning styles and perspectives,” says Mary Fam, a teacher in Ontario. It can also teach leadership and help kids develop communication skills. But if the kids clash, the dynamics can be dicey. Here's how to keep some potential conflicts at bay:

Her Partner is a Complete Stranger

How to Deal: Break the ice by heading to the park first for a little fun; once the project starts, be nearby to help smooth the way, if needed.

Lesson Learned: Working with someone unfamiliar is more likely to keep your child focused instead of goofing around.

Her Partner Always Insists on Hosting

How to Deal: Have the kids decide on a neutral spot (like the library).

Lesson Learned: Negotiation is an important part of any relationship.

Her Partner is Texting—Not Helping!

How to Deal: Have the kids divide the work so yours can finish her part. Also speak with the teacher on the QT so she knows the score if the other kid drops the ball.

Lesson Learned: “Be your own advocate,” says Fam. Going forward, don't settle for the same lame partner—plus, always do your share of projects, since you know how it feels to be let down.