How to Teach Your Child to Take Turns

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Teach Your Child to Take Turns | Eastside Speech

We are often focused on when our young children will say their first word or when they will start saying sentences, but we sometimes forget there are steps that come before this! Communication is not only verbal but also requires a lot of other skills to support it such as attention, gestures, turn taking and sharing.

Taking turns is key in any interaction or conversation we have with others. Turn taking reinforces the importance of starting and returning interactions. As an adult, social turn-taking in conversation can be knowing when it’s your turn to speak and when it’s not. For children, turn taking is a crucial step in the beginning stages of learning communication.

Here are four ideas to reinforce this important skill:

  • Build turn taking into your daily routines (e.g. getting ready)
  • Play games that involve social elements with other people, such as peek-a-boo, hide and seek, rolling a ball back and forth
  • Trade items back and forth and practice sharing items
  • Slowly extend the length of your turns (e.g. start with 5 seconds) and be clear about when it is time to play and not time to play

You might also be interested in Using Music to Connect and Communicate with Your Child.