Turn-taking is an important skill for kids of ALL ages. Babies and young toddlers typically learn skills such as cause and effect, and turn-taking (“pre-language skills”) before they are able to talk. Older children may have some challenging behaviors and could benefit from practicing patience and taking turns. Good news! There are some simple ways to incorporate this critical social skill into storytime at home!
A simple way to practice turn taking while reading books with your little one? Alternate who gets to turn the pages while reading. You can encourage your child’s expressive language skills at the same time by having him or her say “me”/”you” or “my turn”/”your turn” each time!
Use the same simple phrase and take turns commenting with your child on what you see. For example, point out a picture on a page and say, “I see…a bird.” Then tell your child it’s their turn to talk about what they see. Not only does this encourage waiting and turn taking, but it will help your child learn to combine words in the right order to form sentences!
Reading the Words
With an older child, take turns reading the words on the pages. Some children may tire from reading all of the words in an entire book. So this is a nice way to encourage them to develop their reading skills by lowering the demands. It also gives them an active role during storytime to maintain their attention and participation.
Choosing the Book
Storytime is a wonderful component of a bedtime routine! Alternate who gets to choose the bedtime book (or books) each night, you or your child. If there are siblings at home, take turns nightly with each child. This helps teach your child to be flexible and may expose them to new stories and vocabulary than the ones they might always choose!
Give your child lots of positive praise and be specific about how happy you are that they are taking turns during all of these activities. You might just see their turn taking, patients, and flexibility reflected during other situations as well!
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family