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Taking Turns

Bite-sized brain snacks for Chicago’s early learners.


Learning to participate in conversations can be a fun process! Before you give a conversation topic, establish some simple rules such as: 1. Listen with your eyes by looking at the person who is talking. 2. Listen with your ears to hear what the person is saying. 3. Tell the person something you liked about what was said or ask a question to learn more.

Why It's Important

Learning to take turns is an important skill for all aspects of life! Learning to take turns while having a conversation will especially help your child better participate and learn in school. This is a skill that requires lots of practice, but there is no better place to practice than in your home. Help your child learn communication and comprehension skills by taking turns listening and responding to others.


Talk about what would happen if you didn't take turns when talking, playing a game, or waiting in line. Play a quick game of tic-tac-toe and practice taking turns. Ask your child, "Why is tic-tac-toe more fun when we take turns? Would the game still work if we didn't take turns?"

Not Ready Yet

If your child cannot form complete sentences, you can provide choices such as: “What was your favorite part of the day? Going to the park or watching a show?”

Need a Challenge

Let your child lead the conversation! Allow your child to decide what question will be discussed and the order of who will talk first and last.

Book Recommendations:

"Mr. Chatterbox" by Roger Hargreaves

Extend the learning:

Set up a tea party with dolls or a meeting of action figures. Let your child use the different figures to role play taking turns while carrying on a pretend conversation.