One of the first milestones in a child’s social development is understanding how to take-turns and/or share with others. This is a learned behavior children need for positive social interactions, and acquiring these skills is a process rather than a simple task. Just as we teach young children the difference between healthy food and junk food, we also need to teach them how to take turns. These skills are best practiced with a parent or caregiver initially. In the end, you will help to cultivate your child’s patience and consideration for others.
1)Picture Books- Using a picture book about taking turns is an easy method to initiate the topic. Picture books provide the perfect visual and auditory platform to stimulate discussion. Unlike videos, books let a parent or child pause as needed to discuss characters and emotions. Here are a few books to consider:
- My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook (interrupting)
- Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems (sharing)
- Mine! Mine! Mine! by Shelly Becker (sharing)
- Llama Lama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney (sharing)
2)Role Play/Drama- Role play is a powerful tool for children and parents to use in developing positive social skills. They have the opportunity to ‘act out’ the expected behavior without having emotions block their success. This practice helps to foster the behavior in real life. As the parent, you can choose the scenarios to act out that best suit your child. Write scenarios on strips of paper to perform. Be sure to play along, switching roles, modeling good and poor behavior.
3)Ball Toss- This is great introduction for those really little ones and those kinesthetic learners. Simply pass or roll a ball back and forth. Use this as an opportunity to expose them to vocabulary (your turn, now it’s my turn).
4)Music-Another great option to expose young children to the concept of turn taking is with music. Sing songs together with each participant taking different parts.
5)Board Games-Board games or any game that involves 2 or more players is an enjoyable technique for establishing an understanding of taking turns. Additionally, games provide exposure to the win/loss scenario. Losing often raises real emotions in young children. Before starting a game, consider having a pre-game chat about the possibility losing and how to react.