Is your child going to kindergarten, playschool, daycare, or preschool? Sharing and taking turns for kids are two early and important social skills. We can support kids as they develop and practice these.
The early years, that is before the age of 5, are the most sensitive time for learning social skills. We might think taking turns is no big deal, but it is a huge part of relationships. Some other words for taking turns are give and take. During our interactions with babies, we signal to them to take a turn. We wait for them to gurgle and when they stop, we take a turn. This begins programming the brain on how to have a conversation and how to have a relationship. Our toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten kids practice both giving other kids a turn and taking a turn for themselves.
We can help kids with taking turns by our example and gentle reminders, when needed. There are some great stories and books, like It’s My Turn, by David Bedford and Elaine Field. On the playground, the dog and cat are figuring out how to take turns on the slide and merry-go-round. They discover on the see-saw they can turns at the same time. The playground gives lots of opportunities to practice with other kids.
Sharing is more complicated than taking turns and it isn’t always easy. Babies and young toddlers figure out the first part about offering a piece of food or a toy to someone, but they hold on and take it back. It’s hard to let go. As with taking turns, kids will learn from our example. Stories and books are alternatives to reminders about the need to share, especially with brothers and sisters. Recognizing their efforts is very helpful too.
Sharing A Shell, by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks rhymes the adventures of three sea creatures that figure out how to turn a home for one, into a home for two and then three. The video below doesn’t have the sparkle of the glitter that the book has. Hope our library has this one. Libraries are wonderful places that share with many, many people. How do you support sharing and taking turns for kids?
P.S. Some other ideas of early skills are on the infographic checklist Before I Go to Kindergarten.
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