When you were a kid, how many times were you told to wait your turn or to share your toys? And how many times do you say the same thing as a parent now?
Turn takings and sharing come up by the time your child is a toddler. They are more mobile, have attachments to favorite things, and are only beginning to understand that other children exist.
When toddlers start to play together, they are in very early stages of their social development. Children are still trying to grasp the idea that objects and people are permanent. They experience the world with themselves at the center, so they need to develop empathy to understand that turns come and go. By the time children get to preschool and kindergarten age, it’s a bit easier. But let’s be real, school age children (and adults) aren’t always the best about sharing or taking turns either. These are true lifetime social skills that develop through various ages and stages as children become part of their community.
This topic is a key component of the following early learning domain and goal from the State of Alaska Early Learning Guidelines:
Social & Emotional Development
- Children develop positive relationships with other children
- Children demonstrate awareness of behavior and its effect
- Children participate positively in group activities
- Children demonstrate empathy for others