Helping toddlers and preschoolers learn to get along with others isn’t always easy. But books can help. I often use books to reinforce social skills and discuss difficult topics with children. My granddaughter, Zoey, is 2¾ years old, an important age for developing social skills. Questions about taking turns and sharing are especially important issues for toddlers and preschoolers.
Here are some of my favorite books about taking turns and sharing for young children. I don’t always like them just as they’re written. You’ll notice that I have very specific ways of using some of them so that they’re more Montessori friendly.
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Just choose books based on your child’s age and what you think will engage your child’s interest. I recommend checking out the “Look Inside the Book” feature on Amazon and reading reviews there. Another place to learn about a book is on YouTube. You can typically see the entire book there. If you live outside the U.S., be sure to check out Book Depository for great prices and free worldwide delivery.
Friends Ask First, a Daniel Tiger board book, isn’t a Montessori-style book because of the talking animals. But it has wonderful messages for young children. Even though this is called a book about sharing, it really emphasizes taking turns and asking first before grabbing a toy someone is using (important Montessori concepts).
Like Friends Ask First, Daniel Learns to Share isn’t a Montessori-style book, but it has wonderful messages. It’s a great introduction to the concept of sharing a toy with a friend and then getting it back.
I Share by Cheri J. Meiners, is a board book that’s another great introduction to the concept of sharing. This one teaches that sharing is a way to show kindness while letting the toddler know that it’s the toddler’s choice whether or not to share something.
Share and Take Turns by Cheri J. Meiners, M.Ed., is my favorite book about taking turns and sharing for preschoolers. I consider this a Montessori-friendly book because it shows realistic images and doesn’t require young children to share. It shows different ways to share, such as taking turns, and it says that you can choose not to share. At the same time, it encourages sharing as a way of being generous and “learning to think about others.” The book is recommended for ages 4-8, but I like it for both toddlers and preschoolers.
Emily’s Sharing and Caring Book by Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D., and Peggy Post (co-directors of the Emily Post Institute) is out of print. I was able to find a good used book on Amazon for $.01 plus shipping, but you may need to get this from your library. I like it because it’s a simple, positive view of sharing as a way of caring for others.
I Can Share (a Lift-the-Flap Book) by Karen Katz is a book that can be good, depending on how you use it. This is recommended for ages 2-5, although I think it’s best for ages 2-3. This book is really about taking turns and offering alternatives more than sharing. And I think that’s good. Toddlers typically aren’t emotionally ready to share.
What I think is important, though, is NOT to use the words in the book. For example, where one child is grabbing a doll from another, it says, “My new doll! You can’t have her. But maybe … you can play with this doll” (words under the flap with two smiling children playing with dolls). I don’t want to give young children bad examples to model (“My new doll! You can’t have her.”) I would introduce it like this (pointing at the appropriate child): “She (first child) wants to play with her (second child’s) new doll. What can she (second child) do? Maybe she (second child) could say, ‘You can play with this (other) doll.'” I might extend the discussion to say that maybe she could say, “You can have a turn when I’m finished.” Or maybe she could put away her new doll so they can play together with other toys that she doesn’t mind sharing. You could have similar discussions for the other examples in the book.
I have mixed feelings about Sharing Time by Elizabeth Verlick. This is a board book recommended for ages 2-3. I don’t like negative words that could be modeled (“Mine mine mine” … I’d leave those out when reading the book). I do like the idea of using “sharing words”: “May I play with that?” and “Can I have a turn? (I’d use “May I have a turn?”). It’s helpful to learn that “Sometimes the answer you might hear is no.” I don’t agree with all the solutions, but you could adapt them according to your preferences. I’d like to see the children working it out rather than asking an adult for help, although 2-3 year olds would often need an adult’s help. I wish they had the option of the child waiting until the other child finishes his or her turn instead of an option of taking turns with a timer. As I said, adapt the book to fit your preferences for taking turns and sharing.
This version of Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick is a board book recommended for children ages 4 and up, although I think it works best for toddlers and young preschoolers. It’s a sweet way to introduce germs, hygiene, and why not everything is for sharing (an important idea).
This version of Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick is recommended for ages 4-7. Germs can be a bit difficult to explain to young children, but this book does a great job of it. It’s more advanced than the board book, but many toddlers will enjoy this version as well. I like this book a lot.
Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin, M.A., recommended for ages 4-7, is a good introduction to bucket filling. This is considered a “prequel” to the bucket-filling book Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” This is a wonderful concept for teaching children that being kind to others helps bring happiness to both others and themselves. While it isn’t all about taking turns and sharing, it does show why they’re good to do. Bucket filling is an abstract concept that will take some children awhile to understand. The exact age to introduce it is best individualized according to the child’s developmental level.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud, recommended for ages 4-9, is the main bucket-filling book. It’s a lovely story and the inspiration behind many character education programs in schools today.
You can see lots of free bucket-filling resources in my post at Bits of Positivity: “Free Bucket-Filling Videos for Character Education.”
How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them (Dino Life Guides for Families) is written by Laurie Krasny Brown and illustrated by Marc Brown. Many people will recognize the style of illustrations by Marc Brown. This book covers more topics than just taking turns and sharing, and I think it’s best for the recommended age group (ages 5-9). For younger children, the examples of how not to be a friend might influence the child more than some of the positive examples of how to be a friend. The book also is rather busy and has more words and examples than many younger children would enjoy. Still, I think it’s a helpful book for discussing how to be a friend.
Does your child have a favorite book about taking turns and/or sharing?
More Posts about Taking Turns and Sharing
In this post, you’ll find Montessori ideas about taking turns and working together as well as a YouTube video showing how you can demonstrate taking turns and working together with young children.
In my post at Bits of Positivity, you’ll find lots of videos with songs about taking turns and sharing. While these aren’t all Montessori-style videos, the catchy songs encourage young children to take turns and share when they can.
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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