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Many children find it difficult to learn to learn to wait, share and take turns. A child with a communication need may find it particularly hard to accept the rules of turn-taking and sharing. These skills should be encouraged early on to help develop an understanding of the rules of conversational turn-taking, as well as promoting good standards of behaviour.

Early turn-taking

You will need: 2 different toys (e.g., a rattle and a squeaky toy).

  • Give your child one toy and let them play with it for a while. Then, offer your child the other toy, only letting them have it when the first toy is returned.


It may seem like a very simple activity, but this activity helps your child learn give and take!

Everyday sharing

Turn-taking is an important social skill to learn. There are many opportunities to encourage turn-taking and sharing in everyday routines, particularly if there are brothers and sisters at home.

You may be doing some of these activities already and not realising you’re doing a great job boosting your child’s skills!

Here’s some of our ideas:

  • Taking turns to stir cake mixture

  • Taking turns on a swing

  • Taking turns to clap hands

  • Taking turns to water the garden

  • Taking turns on a tablet or computer

  • Taking turns to get the knives and forks out ready for meal times

  • Taking turns to choose a book for a bedtime story

  • Taking turns to choose a film to watch as a family

Rules of turn-taking

Many children find it difficult to learn to learn to wait, share and take turns. Here’s some top tips to develop this skill with your child!

  • To start with, work on turn-taking when you are alone with your child. It is much harder to learn to share with 2 or 3 brothers or sisters/ peers!

  • To ensure that your child does take turns, be in control of the situation by keeping hold of the equipment being used.

  • Demonstrate the activity first so that your child understands what is required.

  • Use the appropriate signed or spoken language for turn-taking – e.g., my turn/your turn, or Mummy’s turn/Adam’s turn, etc.

  • If your child is reluctant to take turns, let them have two turns for every one that you have.

  • If they are still unwilling to take turns, remove the toy altogether and come back to it later when they are more willing to co-operate.

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