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Taking Turns

Age Range
3-5 yrs
Setup Time
No set-up time!
Setup Location
Indoor / Outdoor

Learning how to take turns is very important. Besides learning patience, taking turns also teaches communication skills, how to listen, even how to negotiate and compromise.

Educators hope that by the time a child begins school, those fundamental social skills will evolve and develop enough to enable him to take turns, cooperate, respect others and form friendships. The goal? That in kindergarten, kids will begin successfully navigating their social world-an essential skill that should help them hold their own in the classroom and throughout their lives.

"Learning to live comfortably in the company of peers is a necessary requirement for your child, a critical challenge that begins at a very early age and will continue for many years," child development expert Kenneth Rubin says in his book, The Friendship Factor.

It is a skill directly linked to later academic success, says Jamila Reid, clinical psychologist at the University of Washington Parenting Clinic. "Can the child share? Recognize a peer's intentions? Listen to the teacher's instruction? Those things are as important as reading, letters and numbers."

Taking turns while playing games are a key social skill that help children learn how to communicate and have patience.


  1. Play lots of back-and-forth games. For example, bat the toy he just swung at. These interactions form the foundation of later communication skills and are his first lessons about taking turns

  2. Teach children to use the following language during play

    “I want to play alone right now.”
    “Can I have a turn when you’re done?”
    “Can I use this if I give it right back?”

  3. Help your child focus on another activity while they wait for a turn

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.