by Elizabeth Pantley
from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007)
you're on the phone, busy on your computer, or talking to another
adult, it can be frustrating when your children constantly interrupt
you. What's surprising to learn is that they do it because they
always get a response from you when they do! They've learned that
you are willing to stop what you're doing to answer them. Keep in
mind that children are so focused on their own needs that they don't
realize that you have needs, too. They can learn how to pay more
attention to other people's needs as well as their own, which will
help control these endless interruptions.
lessons and examples
Teach your children how to determine if something warrants an interruption,
as they may have a hard time deciphering when interruptions are
justified. Discuss examples of when it's okay to interrupt, such
as when someone is at the door, or if a sibling is hurt.
Teach your child how to wait for a pause in the conversation and
to say, "Excuse me." When she remembers to do this, respond
positively. If the interruption is of something that should wait,
politely inform your child of this.
answer the question.
Many parents admonish kids for interrupting, but in the same breath
respond to the child's interrupted request, which just reinforces
Parents sometimes jump in so quickly to correct their child's bad
manners that they don't realize that the way in which their correction
is delivered is itself rude. Use your own good manners to model
appropriate communication skills. Pause, look at your child, and
say, "I'll be with you in a minute."
Teach "The Squeeze"
Tell your child that if she wants something when you are talking
to another adult, she should walk up to you and gently squeeze your
arm. You will then squeeze her hand to indicate that you know she
is there and will be with her in a minute. At first, respond quickly
so your child can see the success of this method. Over time you
can wait longer, just give a gentle squeeze every few minutes to
remind your child that you remember the request.
Put together a box of activities or games that can only be used
when you are on the telephone, working at your desk, or talking
with an adult. Occasionally refill it with new things or rotate
the contents. Be firm about putting them away when you are done.
Your child will be look forward to your next conversation, which
will be interruption free!
Before you make a phone call or have a visitor, let your child know
what to expect. "I'm going to make a phone call. I'll be a
while, so let's get your busy box ready to use while I'm on the
praise when deserved
Catching your child doing the right thing can be the best lesson
of all. Praise your child for using good manners, for remembering
to say "excuse me," and for interrupting only for a valid
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry
Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) by Elizabeth Pantley http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth