One thing you may notice about kids is that they are always focused on their own needs and they don’t always realize that adults have needs too. Interrupting is one of those behaviors that exemplifies their lack of control when it comes to rude behaviors. Lets face it, when we as adults have something exciting to say it is sometimes difficult for us to control our urges as well. Below are some tips that you can use to help teach your child how not to interrupt but still get your attention in a polite way:
- Some interruptions such as emergencies are warranted. Talk to your child about the differences between needing your attention because they want a play date versus if someone is hurt.
- Come up with a secret code between you and your child. Let them know to use this secret code when they need your attention. It could be as simple as having your child rest their hand on your shoulder instead of yelling “mommy, mommy!”. Once your child rests their hand on your shoulder, you can acknowledge your child with a look or say “1 minute” until you can respond and see what the child needs. This may take some practice in the beginning, but soon enough it will become habit. Most importantly, don’t forget to commend your child for using your secret code.
- Observe conversations with your child and teach them to look for the appropriate “pauses” in conversations. Once they can recognize a “pause” in a conversation, you can help them identify the right time to say “excuse me.”
- Try hard not to respond to your child when they forget to use the secret code or say excuse me. Answering them in the middle of your conversation just reinforces the bad behavior. If they interrupt you, simply let them know that you are in he middle of a conversation and that they will need to wait patiently until you can answer them. As soon as your child is quietly waiting for you, commend them and let them know that you have their full attention.
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