Turn taking is a vital factor when children are beginning to form positive relationships and developing their social skills. It can take children a while to understand the concept of sharing with their friends. Sharing begins from as young as babies; not necessarily understanding sharing of toys but sharing a conversation with an adult; through babbling, also showing a development of early communication skills.
As children develop, they like to have ownership over people and objects, which may cause disagreements with others. Leading to children becoming angry and frustrated, when they do not get their own way. These feelings can sometimes be expressed by, grabbing toys off others and refusing to let go. Adults can support children in sharing and to build an understanding of what belongs to them, and what is available to everyone to use.
6 great ways to encourage and support turn taking skills
- Share with your child – consciously demonstrate and describe sharing, such as ‘let’s share this piece of fruit. Here’s one for you and one for me’.
- Recognising and praising sharing behaviour – encourage positive behaviour and sharing through language such as ‘I like the way you are giving your friend a turn’.
- Paper plate friends – encourage children to make their own paper plate friends, give them limited resources so they must share them with one another. This will also help encourage communication skills and manners.
- Cooking – each child takes a turn at doing at job to help make a cake or biscuits. Explain the different jobs to the children so they know what job they are going to be doing. Celebrate what the children have made at the end with the finished product.
- Board games – a great way of supporting children to take turns and wait for others. Games can help support children’s listening and attention skills. Games such as ‘Shopping List’ by Orchard are a good way of helping children develop their memory skills and turn taking.
- Sand timers – these are a good way of helping children to visually see the time they have to do something by. Sand timers help children deal with a disagreement over a toy and to each have a turn for a certain amount of time.
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