WHY LONG TURNS ARE OK
As seen in the previous blog, turn taking is not when the caregiver decides the child needs to share a toy, but instead it is when the child decides she is all done with a specific toy. Then, since the child is in charge, she may choose to keep the toy 30 seconds or 30 minutes. So, what should we do when a child hogs the ball or decides to take really looong turn? Nothing? Indeed, we do need to do something, we need to keep our word. If you said to your child “You can play with your doll until you are done.”, then you need to keep your word and make that happen, even if it is a long turn.
Why do children take long turns?
Children who tend to take long turns do it because they primarily do not feel safe. They may hold on to an object to have control, to test an adult, or to see if we really mean “You can have it until you are done.” What matters the most is fairness and consistency. Children who were forced to share in the past, do not trust the system any more. As a result, they make take very long turns until they feel safe again, start to relax and then take shorter turns.
Another reason why children take long turns is that they are learning a new skill by practicing over and over, or in order to follow an intense interest. As a parent, we may find the repetition boring, but to them, pouring sand over and over for instance, is a learning process that should not be interrupted.
What to do with the waiting child?
Here is what can help her cope with a long wait:
· make a waiting list
· write a note such as “Carl gets the truck when Paul is done.”
· let your child be angry or sad and help her express them appropriately
· encourage the waiting child to let the other child know how she feels
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.