This week on the podcast we’re continuing our series with the 11 skills toddlers must master before words emerge.
Today we’re talking about the final skill:
#11 Takes Turns Talking
If you’ve been following this series, you’ll remember me talking about turn taking in terms of reciprocity back in the sections on joint attention. We also see the beginning of turn taking skills and discussed that in terms of developing play skills with toys, in the receptive language section with understanding commands, and with learning to imitate others.
Many times parents are confused when we talk about turn taking. They think we mean how a child shares toys with other kids or takes a turn in a game. Those are more mature examples of turn taking, but it’s not what we’re talking about here first. Toward the end of the podcast, I’ll give you some tips for that too.
Remember that turn taking in this context means this:. When we have a conversation with someone, there’s an initiator and there’s a responder. That’s taking a turn.
In the show we’ll talk about how it looks when a kid has difficulty with turn taking.
Like every other skill we’ve discussed, this concept of turn taking doesn’t begin when a child says her first words. It starts months earlier with nonverbal instances of turn taking.
To target this early turn taking, set up easy turns in play and in daily routines –
- Ideas for play:
- Roll or kick a ball back and forth. On the show we discussed how to make this NOT BORING for toddlers.
- Build a tower of blocks and the child can add the next block, or better yet, knock the tower down. On the show I described another similar play routine that’s been been a hit with toddlers.
- If those things are too difficult, try something simpler. Bang on a table or high chair tray and wait for the kid to do it too. Or dramatically knock on a door and wait for the kid to knock too.
- Look for a turn in a child’s favorite social games. We talked about how to do this on the show.
If a child doesn’t perform that action or take his turn, when you can, help him do it. Many times kids won’t know that you want them to repeat you until you help them do it several times. This sounds like the imitation section and that’s another example of how these skills overlap.
2. Ideas for turn taking in daily routines look like this from a child’s perspective:
- I take a drink from my sippy cup and then I try to give you one too.
- I take a bite of cookie and I want to feed you a bite too.
- You splash water in the tub, and I may splash too.
- You throw a toy in the basket as we’re cleaning up, and I will do that too.
- If you bang a spoon on the bowl, I will think that’s fun and try myself.
In the beginning, remember that a child’s turns will probably look just like the person who began the interaction – which is imitating and that’s just fine. Eventually, you do want the child to have the ability to make his turn to be unique.
On the show, we discussed troubleshooting techniques when a kid doesn’t understand taking a turn.
We finished the show with some tips for helping a child learn to take turns in play, or essentially share toys or wait while another person or child takes a turn. This skill is HARD for ALL toddlers. Many times our expectations are totally unrealistic.
Actually – even adults can have problems sharing and taking turns. On the show I gave common examples…
I also talked about the WRONG way to teach sharing and then we reviewed the most successful method I’ve found in my 20+ year career for teaching toddlers with delays to share. It’s effective… don’t miss it!
Resources mentioned on the show:
Listen to the other shows in this series:
If you’ve missed the earlier shows in this series, check them out below:
#275 Introduction Show – Why These Skills are Important
#276 Overview of Skills 1 – 5
#277 Overview of Skills 6 – 11
#278 Responds to Things in the Environment
#279 Responds to People
#280 Building an Attention Span
#281 Developing Joint Attention
#282 – Developing Early Play Skills (part one)
#284 Understands Gestures
#285 Understands What Words Mean (Follows Simple Directions!)
#286 Vocalizes Purposefully
#287 Imitates Others
#288 Initates Interaction