School Tool Box: Social Skill of Taking Turns

learning to take turnsAs we get kids ready to go off to school, we help pack both backpacks and their school tool box. An important tool is the social skill of taking turns.

Being able to take turns might seem like something insignificant but it is the basis for all relationships. In any relationship there is give and take. Our first interactions with infants begins creating the brain pathways for my turn, your turn. Before babies learn to use words, we talk and wait for their sounds. As we roll balls back and forth with wee ones, we are again using this back and forth, see-saw strategy.

Gradually, kids develop this skill until we take it for granted and think of it as natural. But we soon realize, as kids enter into relationships with other children, how many experiences of taking turns are needed. At daycare, preschool, and kindergarten, there will be reminders to take turns, both from the staff and the kids themselves.

learning to take turnsSome ways we can help kids learn to take turns are to model this in our interactions with them. There are also some fun book we can read and talk about. Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle, is the story of many cars, trucks, and buses, that all want to be first. When there is big traffic jam, Little Blue truck has a suggestion. Kids can play with their own cars, trucks, and other toys and try out various scenarios or have a parade with other kids.

follow the leader gameBoard games are great for practicing taking turns and so are playgrounds. Only one child can slide down at a time. Some monkey bars and bridges will be only one at a time, too. Follow the leader is a fun outside game.  Kids will watch us as we take turns each and every day. It also helps if kids have some strategies about what to do as they wait for a turn. The next blog post will discuss helping kids learn to wait.

Would you like a turn to share your suggestions?

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