Learning to take turns is one of the most crucial social skills in our daily life especially when we want to develop friendships, communicate with others and take part in games. It is a skill that needs to be taught and incorporated into our daily life. In order to help children understand the concept of taking turns, they need a lot of practice.

Here are 5 ideas to help children understand turn taking and practice the skills with their peers:


  1. Social Stories

It is always a good start by reading fun social stories about turn taking.  A social story can teach children the basic concept of taking turn and waiting. You can visit the Boardmaker website for social story ideas on taking turns, www.boardmarkershare.com and search for activities.


  1. Modelling Turn Taking

Modelling is a very effective way to show children how to take turns. Using a puppet or by including another child to act out the ‘proper way’ to take turns in a conversation will show your child what turn taking looks like.


  1. Language and Gestures

Make sure you use appropriate language and gestures to help your child understand the idea of taking turns. It is important to use simple language consistently to describe taking turns. Start each turn with, “My turn,” or “Your turn” to draw attention to the fact that only one person plays at a time. Using gestural as tapping their chest or pointing to the child can help children understand when it is their turn and emphasise the idea of turn taking.


  1.      Practise Waiting

Waiting is often the most difficult part in taking turns for children, especially for younger children. It is always good to start with a short duration to wait and prolong the duration as your child begins to understand the idea of waiting. A timer or singing a song can help children to predict when their turn ends or begins. Some children may need a toy to hold while they are waiting for their turn which helps to ease some of the tension while waiting.


  1.     Games

For younger children, it is always good to start with playing ball games in order to help them understand the concept of taking turns. Rolling a ball back and forth or playing catch is a simple way to demonstrate how turn-taking works. It demonstrates that only one person can take their turn at a time. Table-top games such as Jenga can be used to reinforce the idea that taking turns is fun.