How to stop an Interrupting child

We all know this one.  Once a child learns to speak they want to be heard, regardless of where you are and who you’re talking to.  “In a minute darling” doesn’t cut it for long.  Before you know it you’re having a full blown shouting match with a small child about how you’re not going to talk to them now because you’re talking to somebody else.  By the time you cut back to the previous conversation what you were talking about has completely left your head.

This week a friend of mine found a new technique which she is using with great success.  If her little girl wants to speak to her but she is already having a conversation then the little girl comes over and puts her hand on mummy.  Mummy then puts her hand on top of the little girl’s hand to acknowledge that she knows she’s  there.  As soon as there is a suitable gap in the conversation the little girl is addressed by Mummy.  Et voila.  It was really sweet to see it in action.  They were quite new to the method so there was still a little bit of explaining going on but on the whole it was working an awful lot better than the yelling at one another method that my daughters and I are using!

Other top tips include:

Do unto child as you would have done unto yourself i.e. make sure you’re not interrupting their conversations in the way they do yours.  Kids learn more from the way their parents behave than anything else.  See this post for more details My Values = Your Values (and hilarity of course!)

Buy a book on it!  We Listen, We Don’t Interrupt by Donna Luck and Juliet Doyle is a place to start.  I haven’t read the book and Amazon reviews seem to refer to it being used in schools by teachers exasperated by kids who haven’t been cured of interrupting by their parents!!!

Come up with a song about it.  This is my latest parenting strategy and I have to say that bursting in to song is much more fun that telling the kids off.  So far I have songs for moaning, whining, complaining, eating with their mouths open, running and now interrupting conversations.  I wonder what long term effect it’s having on the kids?  What kind of adults will they grow up to be?  Will they wince every time they hear music?!  Am I over thinking this?  Up until this point this post was actually quite useful.  I’ll stop!


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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure.  She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right.  Infact 80% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS  are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.


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