Early Language Building – Taking Turns

Sep 06th, 2012 | by Lynette LaScala
Lynette LaScala

Lynette LaScala

September 06th, 2012

It is important when a child is learning the basics of conversation, to encourage building the skill of turn-taking. Turn-taking develops early, in both infants and toddlers. During common interactions, one can use this opportunity to build this basic skill, and begin to watch your child effectively communicate with you. 
Great toys for Turn Taking

  • Use a ball (any kind) that is either colorful, or has a bumpy texture. Bounce the ball, and say “my turn” “bounce, bounce the ball”, out loud, and act out.Then, give the ball to your child, and say “your turn”  “bounce, bounce the ball”. Use positive reinforcement, such as being very cheerful and clapping with excitement when they take or give the ball, bounce the ball, or say “my turn”, or “your turn”. Repeat up to 10x. 
  • Take a few blocks, and place them on the table. Sit eye level from your child. Remove all blocks, and put just two on the table. Stack two blocks, and then look at your child and say “your turn”. Put appropriate blocks on table, and if needed, use your hand to help them stack the blocks. After completed say, “my turn” patting yourself. Then repeat 10x, using positive reinforcement. 
  • Any object of interest can be used to create turn taking. Find a few objects that the child may like (toy/spoon/bowl/ any object) and make it make a noise (vroom, crash, bang , boom, ping for example), name the object (big spoon, red keys) –note, try to stick to something that is correct, such as big, or small, or simple, such as color. Then play turn taking. Make the spoon say, ping ping, on the table, then say “your turn” and “my turn” appropriately. Taking turns up to 10x. 
  • Putting objects in and out of a bucket or bowl can be a great way to utilize turn-taking. Keep a limited amount of objects close by, and some on the table. Place the bowl/bucket on table, and put object in, and say “in”, now “your turn”. Repeat, and if necessary, help your child pick object up and put in bowl/bucket, then follow with “my turn”. Repeat 10x, and using positive reinforcement. 
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