Step Take a Stand Against Interrupting

"I never get to finish my conversation—my kid is constantly interrupting." "I'm on the phone talking, and my kid barges in and wants to tell me something." Sound familiar? One of the biggest parenting complaints is about kids who always interrupt. It's just another sign of an impatient attitude.

Take a stand against unnecessary interruptions: helping your kid learn to wait and not interrupt is yet another way to increase patience. Here are a few suggestions to guide you through the weaning process:

• Acknowledge their presence while waiting. For younger kids, it is helpful to put your hand gently on their back, give a hug, or put up your pointer finger to signify "one more minute" and you'll give them your undivided attention.

• Teach the meaning of "necessary." There are instances when kids should interrupt, but those times need to be spelled out so kids are clear what they are. Discuss which situations justify interruptions (such as emergencies, someone is hurt or could get hurt, or an adult says,"Get your mom now").

• Give a timeframe. Younger kids especially have difficulties waiting because they have such limited concepts of time.

Visual references providing time references often helps them be patient. Here are a few examples: A watch: "When the big hand goes all the way around one time, I can help." A sand timer or oven timer: "Wait until the sand runs out [or timer goes off]." A refrain: "Slowly say your ABCs or count to 20 [or hum "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"].When you're done, I can listen."

• Point out "inappropriate times." Discuss inappropriate times to interrupt, such as when someone looks very busy, is on the telephone, is in the middle of a conversation with someone, or is sleeping. This conversation helps your kid become more aware of not only unsuitable moments to interrupt, but also learn to be more considerate of others: "Did you notice Mom was resting? Do you think she appreciated your interrupting her right then? When would have been a better time to ask her to help you with your project?" Or:"I was on the phone talking to Grandpa about how he was feeling. Did you see the worry on my face? Was that a good or bad time to ask me a question? When would have been a better time?"

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