Turn-taking is hugely important developmentally. Babies start taking turns, making sounds back and forth, between 4 and 6 months and begin playing simple turn-taking games like peek-a-boo between 6 and 10 months. This basic turn-taking is the first ‘game’ we play and it is a building block for communication.
The back and forth of turn-taking is the foundation of conversation, which is so hugely important and beautifully simple at the same time! A conversation wouldn’t exist without turn-taking. It would just be one person talking…which is a monologue…
So, as you’re playing a game with your child that’s about getting comfortable with foods, you’re also teaching and reinforcing a major building block of communication, which, as a speech-language pathologist, I find amazingly cool!
A turn-taking game can take many forms. One of my favorite (and simplest) games is taking turns scooping or moving pieces of food from one bowl to another. You can do this with your fingers if your child is working on a pincer grasp or with a spoon to practice scooping. This is a game toddlers especially enjoy. Older children might want to add steps or rules onto this kind of game.
Turns look different for kids who are at different comfort stages with food. As your child becomes more comfortable with the food you’re playing with you can decide together to change the turns. If your child seems curious about tasting the food, you could change the turns to licking the food, making bite marks in it or even taking bites.
Comment and let me how you got creative with turn-taking!
Enjoy! Happy food play!