by Julie Snyder
Does it seem like your child has radar from across the house the moment you pick up the phone to have a conversation?
Inevitably, there suddenly is an urgent question that must be answered -- right NOW! Most parents will admit that their child is a "work-in-progress."
One of the more challenging lessons involves patience and not to interrupt "unless there's blood involved" according to my mom! Breaking free of this cycle may not happen overnight. Still, use "No Interruptions Day" as a stepping stone in the right direction.
Teaching your child to not interrupt
Talk about it
Explain why it's important not to interrupt, except for worthy cause. In addition to being disruptive, at times it may be considered just plain rude.
As your child grows and interacts more with others, interrupting can actually become a habit that -- once entrenched to adulthood can be even more impossible to break. Think of your child's future employer and colleagues, not to mention spouse (if they choose). All will frown upon this characteristic.
Kids need some guidance to help them determine when it is and is not ok to interrupt. Help them differentiate between "Mom, Jason jumped out the second story window!" (PLEASE interrupt!) and "Jason looked at me -- through the wall -- on the other side of the house! I can feel him looking!" (Um… No interrupting!)
Offer several scenarios. Keep them relevant to your child! Teach good manners for when they must interrupt with phrases such as "excuse me" and "sorry for the interruption."
Practice makes perfect isn't just an old adage. Take turns with your child acting out various scenarios. Allow them time in your shoes as well. Practice at home, in the car, at the store...anywhere at all is perfect.
Enlist others to help. Draft grandparents, siblings and even the next door neighbor. If possible, video tape your exchanges and play them back. Seeing good manners in action -- particularly when it's their own -- is more likely to stick.
Practice what your preach
As adults we need to strive to insure that we're modeling good behavior. Be a good listener, especially within conversations with your child. Don't walk over them before they can complete a thought to share.
Wait for complete instructions from your boss before you let him or her know what your objections may be. Take note when your significant other has something to say.
Displaying the positive give and take will stress the importance of not interrupting for your child.
It really isn't fair to go start a long phone call or work on a project, and leave your child "hanging" so to speak. When possible, prepare your child with something to do.
Get that glass of water as you wouldn't want them to die of thirst! Do the potty break before dialing in. Gather a healthy snack to keep starvation at bay! The more you can predict, the more successful you will be in having a somewhat complete conversation – sans disturbances!
In case of emergency, dial M-O-M
While you do want to teach your child about having good manners and no interrupting, at the same time it's vital to teach when it is ok to butt in!
In a true emergency, you do want to be informed. Remember that blood reference from my mother? Your child should tell you about things like fire, life, limbs at risk -- or one off your personal list (the DVR failed to kick on to record the final episode of your favorite show, perhaps).
Have you experienced a "most embarrassing moment" from a small youth interrupter? How have you worked to meet this challenge?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.