Tip: Teaching Turn Taking

You may find that your grandchild has no concept of turn taking. Turn taking is very important in walking with other people, conversation and playing games.

Walking side by side is something we all take for granted. It is a skill that develops naturally in most people – not our grandkids. You will find them falling behind or wandering off somewhere. This is because they are lost in their own thoughts and do not pay attention to what goes on around them. This game is a fun way to train turn taking in walking.

Use a hallway or some other place like a narrow sidewalk at the park on a quiet day. You tell your grandchild that you will be playing “follow the leader”. Explain that you will be the leader and they have to walk next to you. Have them copy your steps while saying: “left, right, left right”.

When they get the concept, tell them that now they are going to be the leader, and you will follow their steps exactly. Then you will be the leader again, and they have to follow. Then the grandchild will be the leader, etc. When I use the word follow in this paragraph, I mean that they are to walk next to you – not behind you. Once they get the game, you can practice many more times, and eventually practice it every time you are out in the community.

If you have a grandchild who is hyper-talkative and will talk on and on without paying attention whether anyone is listening, you have to teach them, to say three sentences and then stop and wait for a comment from whoever they are talking to. If you do not teach this skill, your grandchild will be able to “talk at people”, but not to people. These are the children who gravitate toward adults because adults will tolerate this behavior, but the other kids will not and will avoid your grandchild. As you work with them on this skill of conversation, you will notice that they have a tendency to go back to their favorite topic or “lecture” when they are nervous and do not know what is expected of them.