Help your kids to share with these top turn-taking tips
The best thing about having an enormous toy collection, is being able to share it with your mates.
But the ability to share and take turns is not something a child is born with, it’s a skill we need to help them acquire.
I’ve been inspired by an Izziwizzi Kids #PlayFest online conversation about about turn taking, to bring you this round up of the best tried and tested tips from other parents.
Lead by example
It’s Sunday morning and you and your other half both want to sit with a cuppa and the newspaper. Don’t shoot him the evil eye, then mutter under your breath ‘of course dear you take the paper first’. Work out something between you – take out the sections you each want, or agree a time you will switch custody of the newspaper. Let your kids see what good sharing looks like.
Similarly when you are playing a family board game, when it is not your turn to play don’t flick distractedly through the football scores, play with your phone, or use it as an opportunity to load the dishwasher. Model turn-taking by staying engaged in the game, taking an interest in how other players are doing, and maybe even doing a running commentary if it helps liven things up.
Start them young
Even little kids can join in with a family board game night. Let the youngsters buddy up with a parent and do whatever they can as part of that person’s turn – roll the dice, move counters, turn over cards.
For young children pick games that have a sense of anticipation for observers as well as players. Pop-Up Pirate and If You See a Crocodile are examples of games that even when it is not your turn, it is stil exciting to watch the other player have a go, and see if they win or lose.
Agree a family strategy for dealing with squabbles over a toy
Being simultaneoulsy surrounded by abandoned toys whilst deafened by the shouting of siblings wrestling over the same single play-thing, is an all too familiar situation for most parents.
You can take the heat out of the situation by agreeing a family strategy on how sharing disagreements will be dealt with, then sticking to it.
Ideas for handling toy-wars in a constructive way include:
Sand Timer – perfect for younger children. Let the child waiting hold a giant sand timer. Watching the sand fall while the time passes is calming, then when all the sand reaches the bottom, its time to take turns with the toy.
Toy Jail – help older children develop their conflict resoultion skills by confiscating the focus of their argument, and tell that when they have worked out a solution, then you will release the toy from jail.
Teamwork Forfeit – hold the toy hostage, and tell the kids they can have it back when they have completed a task or chore as a team (keep a list of tasks handy so you can pick one quickly).
Imagine if you had to share all of your worldly possessions – nothing was sacred or special. Don’t expect your child to share everything. Let them put special toys in a designated no share zone, like a special box under the bed, or on a shelf out of reach of little ones. Then make some ground rules up like: “if you are playing with this toy in your room, or you have tidied it away into the box, then I don’t expect you to share, but if you are playing with it in plain sight of your friend / sister, or you leave it lying around, then it will be shared”.
You can find out more information on Izziwizzi Kids weekly PlayFest here.
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