The first part of May, this blog has been presenting some strategies for helping children develop some social and emotional skills so that kids can function as members of any group, be it preschool, on the playground or at daycare or school. The topic for today is taking turns. Kids hear lots of reminders to take turns and sometimes just tune us out. A story is one way of communicating the same message and increasing the chances of their tuning in. An oral story is an alternative format to books. With some body visuals and acting out the parts it appeals to children of all three learning styles. This story is just a starter to encourage you to create your own.
Once upon a time, there was a group of animals on the farm: a cow, a pig, a horse and a goat. The farmer fed them every morning in the field in front of the barn. Well, he tried to feed them. The cow said she should be first because she gave milk for the children. The horse said no, first place was his because he could run the fastest. The goat said he was going to be first or the rest of them would feel his horns. The pig just grunted and played in the mud. The cow and the horse and the goat argued so much about who should be first that they didn’t see the pig gobbling up all the food. After all, he was the pig. The cow and the horse and the goat had to find some grass or just be hungry. Every day the same thing happened. The cow and the horse and the goat just argued and the pig just ate. One morning, the cow and the horse and the goat were too hungry to argue. A sheep said “Too baaad you don’t take turns.” Now, the pig knew if the other animals took turns he would have to share. So, he quickly said, “One day, I will be first, then cow can be second. The next day, I can be first and horse can be second. Then, I will be first and goat will be second.” The other animals were not quite as clever as pig and liked the idea of taking turns, so they agreed. But who was always first? Pig. After all, he is the pig. (©Barbara Allisen, 2010)
Younger children may not catch on to the pig’s trick until they act it out with some play animals or with other kids but the humor and the fun reinforce the message of taking turns. This is an essential skill to help children learn for positive relationships.