Session note Session notes

Session notes for Taking turns Stages: 3 to 5 years


It starts early

Whether we realised it or not, we’ve been gradually working on turn-taking since babyhood. This Parenting Resource is full of information and simple ideas that help young children begin to learn about taking turns.

Remember the early days of Face to face talkingOpens in new window with pēpi and copying the sounds they made?

And then when they were sitting up and we played Taking turnsOpens in new window by rolling the ball back and forwards with them?

A developing skill

At the 13–18 months stage there was a session note on Learning about taking turnsOpens in new window, which stressed the importance of a secure attachment for providing the foundation to getting on with others.

It also suggests that sometimes we have high expectations for sharing when in fact the pēpi is at the stage of just wanting to play alongside others, rather than engage fully with them.

Like other skills, being able to share and take turns develops over time. What helps this skill to develop is when whānau model the behaviour and talk with the child, gently but clearly. Simple things like saying out loud to the child, ‘Here’s the bike, your turn now’, or ‘Mum’s turn to kick a goal’.

Trusting others

By the time they’re 3, most children are beginning to understand about turn-taking and sharing, and what the idea of ‘fair’ means.

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • What are your tactics for helping to make things fair for your kids?
  • How is that working out?

Challenges with sharing

Being happy sharing or taking turns can be much harder for some children and take more time. It’s not an easy skill to develop for some, and it may be that their experiences impact on their progress.

Role models may have been inconsistent or untrustworthy. Their confidence in others may have been shaken through unhappy experiences, and they may have had bad luck sharing with others.

Without sufficient whānau supervision, sometimes older siblings can take advantage of the younger ones. For example, sneaking things off them while no one is watching. So, it’s with good reason that the tēina may be unsure that others will be fair and share with them.

Sometimes tamariki will drop what they’re playing with if they see another child pick up a different toy, and they’ll try and grab it off them. They may have been playing with it before and feel like it’s ‘mine’!

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • What have you noticed about your tamaiti when they’re in a group situation with other kids?
  • How have other adults responded when kids are fighting over toys or activities?

Parenting styles

Let’s have a look at some ideas in Whakatipu booklet Te Māhuri 1, pages 20–21. In this cartoon, Maka and Heru are finding it hard to share the bike. On the next page we’re reminded of the three parenting styles — rock, paper and tree — and how each might respond to this situation.

Maybe we could refresh our understanding of the ‘tree’ or ‘rākau’ style that we find in Thinking about parentingOpens in new window.

The rākau parent talks clearly and politely: ‘Maka, it’s Heru’s turn now, please.’ The next sentence then indicates a simple action that will help Maka know that she will get the bike back and it will be her turn in 5 minutes. Give a definite time.

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • What other ideas could you use to help define the sharing time?

There are lots of opportunities to help children learn about sharing and waiting their turn. The video about sharing on the Raising ChildrenOpens in new window website has a number of helpful tips and strategies too.

How does this relate to the SKIP resources?

Baby wall frieze - Homai ngā mea hei tākaro māku.  Give me things to play with — because I learn everything through play, even how to be fairOpens in new window

Six things children need - Te mahi pona — ngā hua me ngā hapa.  Guidance and understanding — noticing how our tamaiti is becoming more aware of what others think, feel and sayOpens in new window

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