It's my turn
Posted , updated Feb 09, 2006.
It’s My Turn
Young children often do not understand when it is “their turn.” A preschooler might believe he should always come first. That includes first use of the swings, the tricycle, and other toys.
Learning social skills is important during the preschool years. It takes a lot of guidance and time before children regularly take turns. Here are some ideas to help you teach your child this skill.
- Start with easy things. Don’t expect your preschooler to hand over her favorite toy or let you have the last piece of candy.
- Keep it fun. Don’t try it with a tired, hungry, or cranky child.
- Avoid the role of the “Turn Taking Police.” When groups of young children get together, set it up so they can do the same thing. Everyone can play with play dough or in the sand box. If everyone wants to paint, get out a can of water and old paintbrushes and let them all paint the sidewalk.
- Provide opportunities for your child to play with other children. Learning to take turns takes a lot of practice. Young children can learn a lot about negotiation from each other.
- Praise your child when you see him taking turns or sharing. Point out how happy it makes the other child to have a turn.
- Be a good example: Show how you wait your turn in the grocery check-out line, or at the four-way stop.
- Show your child how to trade for a toy. Make a game of exchanging toys.
Your young child might be more cooperative taking turns with you or another grown-up than with another child. Some activities to try:
- Make a game out of turn taking. When he’s in the tub, take turns splashing. Take turns turning the pages during story time.
- Make a waiting list to reassure a child they will get a turn.
- Encourage turn taking with toys like puzzles or blocks. Each of you takes a turn putting in a piece or adding a block to the tower.
Taking turns is a skill that helps a child gain friends and do well in school. Although it requires time and patience, the results are great. Now it’s your turn!