Taking turns is a big part of the Collaborative Schedule process. We take turns adding Want to Do items to our lists and take turns to decide the order we use to arrange our day. Unfortunately, taking turns is not something that came naturally to Little Miss and we had to practice a lot to help her learn to be independent with this skill.
We started with simple games. Little Miss’s favorite is a game we picked up in the Target Dollar Spot called “Wash My Underpants,” where players take turns with a spinner to see what color underpants they need to add to the clothes washer. If a player lands on bubbles, he or she is allowed to shout, “wash my underpants!” and claim all the clean clothes. But really, you can work on taking turns with any game that your family loves: Candyland, Trouble, Memory, and even Connect 4.
In the beginning, we had to verbally prompt Little Miss to take her turn and then pass the spinner on to the next person when her turn was over. We modeled turn taking among the rest of the family as well, with each player announcing “it’s my turn” when they received the spinner and then saying “it’s your turn” to the next person as they passed it along. As time progressed, we were able to fade the verbal prompts. If Little Miss forgot to pass the spinner after her turn, we would instead wait quietly until she remembered on her own.
If your child doesn’t have the attention span or understanding yet for a formal game, don’t despair. You can also model and teach turn taking in everyday play (for example, take turns stacking blocks).
If you’re really stuck (and trust me, you’re not alone), try searching for social skills groups in your area. These groups are usually led by a speech-language pathologist (or behaviorist) and help children learn from each other in a forgiving group setting. To learn more about social skills groups, check out this great FAQ from Understood.
Do you want more information to help teach turn taking? We liked these articles:
- How can I teach my child to take turns? (Parents)
- Taking Turns: How to make it easier for your child with special needs (Friendship Circle)
- Teaching a child to take turns (Day2Day Parenting)