How to encourage children to take turns

May 12, 2021
Written by
Supernow HQ
Key Points

  • Getting children to take turns can be very difficult, but it is definitely worth the time. 
  • By teaching children how to take turns you will be helping to develop their patience, as well as their social and emotional intelligence.
  • Follow our tips below for different ways to encourage children to take turns at home.

How to encourage kids to take turns. 

Often children find it difficult to take turns. It can be a skill they need to  master, but one that is important. It’s also important to recognize that there are many different types of turn-taking. Taking a turn in a game is very different from taking a turn in a conversation, or with your favorite toy.

 It may seem as simple as you-go-I-go, but it actually demands a lot of patience, control, and communication. In teaching our children to allow another to take a turn, we are actually instilling the qualities of equality and fairness within them. We only set our children up for success when we work with them on cooperative play and emotion control. 

So where do you start?  A great way to start is with a family group game including both adults and children. You can lead by example and make sure to always use language such as “Charlie’s turn now”. Show them the language that goes with turn-taking at a level they can understand. 

Other tips to encourage turn taking at home: 

  • Have some fun with role-play: Act out scenarios that involve two or more people and require turn taking. I.e. waiter/ress and customer, patient and doctor, cops and robbers. 
  • Make up a story together: Take it in turns to tell a story. Each child should make up a sentence and take it in turns building on the  story - see how fun and creative they can get. 
  • Daily conversations: use talking about your day to set an example of talking and listening skills. Encourage both sides to ask questions and to give each person time to respond.
  • Encourage turn-taking in every day activities. Try to incorporate taking turns in your daily routine. For example cooking: You add this ingredient, I’ll add the next, or eating - you eat one I’ll eat one, or reading - you read this line, i’ll read the next. 

Getting children to take turns without any push-back can be very difficult, but it’s definitely worth working on. No matter how much your child resists, don’t give up. Slowly they will begin to understand, and they will reap the emotional and social benefits in the future. 

Supernow is a virtual program designed to teach kids ages 5-10 important social and emotional skills and supercharge their development into happy and healthy future grown-ups.

Learn more and sign up for a free trial at

A picture with elements inside it.
A picture with elements inside it.