Taking turns is a difficult concept for your toddler to grasp but there are things that you can do to help the process of learning to share go more smoothly. It is important to understand that children aren’t born knowing what taking turns is. They aren’t being naughty; they simply don’t have the maturity or skills to grasp this without time and teaching. In their little world, everything belongs to them and sharing is a completely foreign concept.
You can help them learn about taking turns by making sure they are sharing when you play with them. Verbally say when it is Mommy or Daddy’s turn and help them to give the toy to you. Be sure to use lots of praise when they do a good job at this. Telling them that they are doing a nice job of sharing and what a good boy or girl that they are will help to reinforce what you are trying to teach them about taking turns.
When they approach you and want something that you have in your hand, put words to the fact that you are sharing so they are getting more opportunities to see what sharing and taking turns looks like. Saying, “Oh, you want Mommy to share her banana with you?” will help them. Telling them that you like to share and smiling while you do helps to give them a positive connotation with sharing.
Modeling sharing in front of them between yourself and others is a great way to help them learn as well. When Daddy shares his cookies with you, be sure to get your child’s attention and tell them how happy you are when someone is sharing.
Learning about sharing and taking turns is a process. There will probably be the need for many reminders along the way but playing out these scenarios with your child will help them to learn more quickly what taking turns means.
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