Two parents and their young child sit on a couch reading a story and pointing to the pages together

How to Support Your 5 Year Old’s Social-Emotional Development by Taking Turns

From Who Turns the Pages During Storytime to Who Picks the Book: Learning to Take Turns Is an Important Milestone

Does your 5 year old wait patiently for their turn on the slide at the playground? Or for their teacher to call on their raised hand at school? Or for their turn to choose the book for storytime at home (if taking turns with you or their siblings)? Taking turns is a big milestone in your child’s Social-Emotional development.

Social-Emotional Learning is when your child uses information, skills, and mindsets to form healthy identities, understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve their own goals, and make responsible decisions. Your child’s ability to not only follow rules but to understand and apply them to interactions with others (like taking turns) is a huge step forward on their SEL journey.

Here are some easy ways to support your 5 year old’s Social-Emotional development by taking turns at home:

  • Take turns choosing the books for storytime. In addition to letting them practice taking turns, this can nurture your child’s empathy skills. If one of your children is having a bad day but it’s not their turn to choose the story, you may ask their older sibling, “Martin is having a bad day. I bet he would feel special if you would let him pick out the book today. Would you like to do that?”
  • Take turns flipping the pages during storytime. Establish a pattern for who turns the next page. You can tell your child, “I turn a page, then you turn the next page. We go back and forth each time.” Or, “Janelle turns a page, then Thomas turns the next page, then Kendra turns the next page. Then Janelle, Thomas, Kendra”. This reinforces how “taking turns” and patterns work. It also nurtures their literacy skills by encouraging interactions with storytime.
  • Take turns when talking by using a “Talking Item” during conversations. Designate a stress ball or a safe household object as your “Talking Item”. A stress ball shaped like Earth could be your “Talking Planet” that you pass to the person whose turn it is to talk. You and your child can take turns talking this way.
Three siblings sit around their Storypod speaker as they play, laugh, and listen to stories together.
In photo: Memory Monster Craftie, Storypod speaker, and interchangeable sleeve.

Storypod can support your 5 year old’s Social-Emotional development and “taking turns” skills in the following ways:

Our Audio Experiences use Social-Emotional Learning as a foundation. Our Daniel Tiger Craftie teaches about making friends, empathy, and dealing with emotions like frustration or anger.

Our Read-Along Audiobooks teach when to turn the page during storytime with designated sounds for each page turn. This can help your children practice taking turns as they are being read a story. Many of our read-along audiobooks (like Spike: The Penguin with Rainbow Hair or The Pink Stripy Pipefish) focus on kindness and helping others, like letting someone else go first or working to cheer up a friend.


  1. From the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning: Fundamentals of SEL
  2. CDC Milestone Checklist
  3. From ‘Very Special Tales’: 25 Fun Turn-Taking Activities for Kids (Classroom & Home)