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Christine Jolly, Owner and Parent Coach

Hobart, Tasmania

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Why Young Children Interrupt

 Expect your child to interrupt!  All young children do this. It is annoying but take heart with time, patience and consistency they will move through this stage!

 

Why young children interrupt.

Young children are just starting to figure out that there is more going on in your life than just them.
 
Children truly forget what you tell them. Short-term memory is still developing at this age, contributing to a short attention span.

What seems like three hours to your preschooler when waiting to tell you something has probably only been about three minutes.

To your young child, the picture of the flower just drawn is important enough to stop you from talking on the phone.
 
Your child may have something very exciting to say!

 
Strategies to stop your child interrupting.

Ignore the interruption

 

Plan to be interrupted. Assign something for your child to do during that time . Set a timer and explain that you are not to be interrupted (unless it is a true emergency) until the timer goes off.

Avoid teaching your young child to say “Excuse me”.  They see it as a license to say “excuse me” over & over again!  This can be more annoying than the interrupting.

Explain why you don't like to be interrupted -- as many times as it takes

Signal. If you are having a conversation, put your hand on your child’s shoulder (to let them know you will listen shortly) keep looking at the other adult and finish what you are saying. eg

  • 2-3    Hold your hand up as a stop signal and finish your sentence only, then turn to the child.

  • 3-4    Hand on shoulder and finish your paragraph.

  • 4-5    Finish your topic!

Teach children to wait for the “gap” in the conversation. Stop your conversation, say “wait for the gap” and follow the guidelines above. This works a treat in our family!

Each child is different & you will discover the best strategy for your child.  As your child matures and learns more about taking turns, they will less likely to interrupt you. Be sure to give praise when they remember about interrupting!  

 

This Article was written by Janet Carter. Janet Cater is an author, parenting advisor and workshop facilitator. She has qualifications in early childhood education and is a Brain Gym practitioner working one on one with children and their parents experiencing learning and behavioural challenges.  janet@janetbcater.com  web address Janet Cater – Parenting Advisor

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Disclaimer: Articles on our website are for education purposes only.  Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.