Turn taking and sharing

Playgroup NSW

Categories: Social Interaction

Turn taking and sharing are complex social skills that many young children can find difficult to initially understand. By encouraging your child to participate in turn taking and sharing, you can help them understand these concepts. Get all the details, as well as suggested play activities, in this section.


Matthew struggles with taking turns during games with other children in the group and gets frustrated when people try to use the toys he is engaged with.


Why does this happen?

Turn taking and sharing are complex social skills that many children find challenging in the early years. Children with ASD may find it even more challenging due to a delayed understanding of social development and communication.

Exposing children to social situations where others can model and encourage the use of these skills can help children with ASD gain and develop understanding of these concepts.


What can I do?

  • Use turn-taking visuals such as a coloured circle with the words “my turn” written on it, and pass it between children during a game to indicate whose turn it is. Children can only take their turn if they have the coloured circle. This also supports self-regulation.

  • Model turn taking and sharing by watching for spontaneous opportunities (e.g., if a child is engaged with a puzzle, introduce a second child and allocate the pieces so each has half).

  • Develop social stories to discuss the concept of turn taking and sharing with friends.

  • Acknowledge, thank and congratulate children for turn taking and sharing.


Play activities

  • Colouring-in task– each child is given one coloured marker and required to take turns with other children when they need another colour.  

  • Cooperative games

  • Bottle bowling

  • Goal shoot

  • Pass the toy


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