Wondering how to get your kids to stop fighting over toys with others and take turns instead? Read on!
Turn-taking is a foundational skill that’s important to communication and friendship development for children. Turn-taking games can help kids to develop their self-regulation, patience, and negotiation skills. As simple as it sounds, young children may not yet understand the concept of taking turns.
With some adult guidance, turn-taking can be taught through play – one of the best ways for kids to learn new skills. Here are some tips to help your kids develop their turn-taking skills today:
Kick a soccer ball
Soccer is a perfect sport to practise taking turns and sharing, while also throwing in some exercise! Head outside, grab a soccer ball and kick it back and forth with your child. You can also take turns trying to score a goal in the net, which will help foster a team spirit and prepare them for buddy activities they might encounter during school gym time.
Time an activity
Turn-taking is all about being patient, and what better way to teach patience than by timing games? You can pretty much turn any activity into a turn-taking game by using a watch or sand timer (bonus: the visual cue can help kids understand time better).
For example, while playing with your child, you can grab their favourite toy and say ‘Okay, it’s your turn to play with the toy for 2 minutes. When the sand timer runs out, it’s my turn, okay?’ Practice using phrases like ‘okay, it’s your turn now,’ and ‘it’s my turn’ to equip them with the proper vocabulary.
Build a block tower
Games that involve building skills will inspire your kid’s creativity and encourage taking turns. Sit down with your kid and take turns building a tower with blocks while talking through the process.
You can say phrases like ‘okay, it’s your turn to add a few blocks now. I will take time to think about where to place the next blocks,’ and ‘it’s my turn now! Look at how tall the building is now that we’ve worked together!’
This activity will help your kid understand the importance of turn-taking as well as how teamwork can produce a greater combined result.
Taking turns using outdoor toys
If your child is hosting a play date at home, think of ways you can incorporate turn-taking with the outdoor play equipment you have in your backyard. A trampoline is a great way to promote turn-taking.
Explain to them: ‘Kids, for the duration of a song, you will each take turns jumping on the trampoline. During those minutes, it’s all yours. When the song is over, you will switch positions.’
You can encourage them to be patient by offering to let them pick a song or even take a video of the jumper while waiting! Rewarding them by clapping or giving them a treat can also positively reinforce the behaviour.
Kahuna’s mini trampoline is perfect for encouraging turn-taking! Its smaller size is a logical way to explain to kids that they will each need to take turns so that they can have enough space to jump. You can say ‘see how the trampoline fits one person? That means we will have to take turns jumping.’
To wrap up…
Teaching kids to take turns can be a real headache, but it doesn’t have to be. With the above tips and activities, you can ease your kids into the idea of taking turns and eventually, they’ll reach a point where it will become second nature!