Teach Your Child not to Interrupt in One Simple Step

How to Stop Children Interrupting in one Simple Step - An Everyday StorySee these two?

How to teach your child not to interrupt - An Everyday StoryBoy do they have a lot going on. Often times they are just BURSTING to tell me something and will come straight up to me and tell me what’s on their mind regardless of whether I am already talking to someone.

Well they used to.

That was before I saw this truly genius little technique from a friend.

I was chatting with her one day when her (then 3-year-old) son wanted to say something. Instead of interrupting though, he simply placed his hand on her wrist and waited. My friend placed her hand over his to acknowledge him and we continued chatting.

After she had finished what she was saying, she turned to him. I was in awe! So simple. So gentle. So respectful of both the child and the adult. Her son only needed to wait a few seconds for my friend to finish her sentence. Then she gave him her complete attention.

My husband and I started implementing this straight away. We explained to Jack and Sarah that if they want to talk and someone is already speaking, they need to place their hand on our wrist and wait. It took some practice and a few light taps on our own wrists as gentle reminders but I am so happy to report that the interrupting has all but stopped!!

No more, ‘wait‘. No more, ‘Please don’t interrupt‘. Just a simple gesture; a little touch of the wrist. That’s all.

Give it a try. It works!


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270 comments on “Teach Your Child not to Interrupt in One Simple Step”

  1. learnwithplayathome

    Thanks for the reminder. This is a great little technique that I must start implementing again with my kids. Pinned 🙂

    • bETTY wILLER

      Consistency, Thou art a jewel. and FAR MORE RARE! Be consistent in your teaching whatever method you use. This sounds very effective.

    • Kim

      This is the sort of thing I’m looking for! Real techniques! Being a new Foster parent to two toddlers ages 2 and 3, I need help. This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Shannon

    One of those great “Growing Kids God’s Way” tricks! We did a class when our older children were small but I had forgotten to teach this w/ our little ones – thank you for the reminder :0) Another good one we need to practice again is “Couch Time”……

    • Kate

      What is “couch time”? Sounds like something we could use here too.

      • joysez

        Kate, couch time is when you and hubby sit together at couch and have 10-15mins time together uninterrupted (from kids).

        • Kate

          Oh yes. I like the sounds of that. Just connecting each day and not taking that relationship for granted.

        • theholtgirls

          We have teens now, and use this still. Something else that helps is our “If you interrupt to ask, the answer is automatically No.”

          As for couch time, we just sit down and announce “The kissing shall now commence!” (insert smoochy noises) and the kids run from the room! hee hee

          • Seriously

            Good job teaching your children that parents being affectionate is gross.

          • Zenka

            “Seriously” – why did you feel the need to say something hurtful and small there?

            Most kids go through a phase where they think mushiness of other people – parents or not – is gross.

            Handling it with humor sounds spot on.

            I don’t understand why you felt like sniping at someone over it was going to be helpful.

        • betty

          My husband and I have done this since we were married and all through the child-rearing years. 20 years later and we still do this every morning…drink coffee and talk! It’s our favorite time of the day. Now we’re facing being empty nesters in a couple of months, but our friendship has survived so it’s not so scary (well….a little scary;-)

          • Kristy

            Showing affection in front of children is anything but gross to them. It teaches then that mommy and daddy love each other.

          • Sunny

            Right?! My parents have done that since the begining of my time! – and still do! And by the way- i am 42!!! They still make out and it shows us they are connected!!:) not mauling but kiss or neck or hold hands… Great example!!:) 💗

        • theholtgirls

          David, you wrote a perfectly capitalized, spelled and punctuated sentence – I suspect you could come up with a more intelligent approach than hitting.

          Your suggested trick is common in unpleasant places. I challenge you to try for uncommon. 🙂

          • Cloyd Vanderhaag

            that’s the most intelligent non-condescending response i’ve ever heard someone on the internet give someone with an opinion they don’t agree with. While I’m personally not against spanking (this clearly isn’t spanking and i don’t approve of it either) I’m mightily impressed by your response. There has been a slight increase in my faith in humanity.

          • Ohioriverchicks

            My faith in humanity is surging as well! Bravo for kind, thoughtful people!

        • Kate

          Are you suggesting that slapping a child across the face is an appropriate way to help children learn to navigate social situations respectfully?

          I will always choose kindness over fear and violence.

          • Michael

            Violence breeds fear, fear breeds resentment, resentment breeds anger, which breeds rebellion.

        • Abby Kidabby

          I will go against everyone else’s responses and take this to mean “gently place your hand on the back of the child’s hand instead of their wrist”, although I’m certain it’s not what you meant.

    • Colette

      ahhh the interrupt rule, from growing kids Gods way, it does work…most of the time 🙂

  3. expatsincebirth

    Thanks for this post. I am convinced that in many cases this kind of technique is very useful in the communication – not only with children. Especially when listening is involved. When we want our children to listen, instead of telling them from the other room, standing in front of them and maybe touching a shoulder make them focus better. With adults this may seem weird in some cultures, but in others it’s ok to touch one’s hand or shoulder. – I’m still trying to find a solution for when I can’t offer my arm or wrist, like when I’m driving (and already involved in a conversation). Do you have any suggestions?

    • Kate

      Yes. I think you are so right. I’m not sure about in the car. We struggle with that still too. I might ask my friend and see what she does.

      • MamaWolf

        Yeah, I’m also curious about when in the car or otherwise out of reach. I have been trying to get my 5-yo to stop screaming for me from across the house to ask a question… so far, no success.

        • Lu

          Don’t answer them until they address you the proper way. Just ignore them.

          • Kate

            I don’t think you are being respectful or modelling good manners by ignoring the child. I think we want to teach our children (through our actions and our words) how to navigate social situations with dignity and respect. Ignoring a child does neither of these.

          • Rob

            I agree with Kate; instead of ignoring them, answer in a voice of appropriate volume. Then you can honestly tell them that you answered, but you didn’t yell because it’s not appropriate. You can also tell them you’re sad for them that, because they chose to yell, they get a consequence. Then stop; let them figure out what to do with that information. Don’t tell them what they should learn from it, & don’t engage in a debate or succomb to a bunch of “why” questions.

        • Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

          In training our children to not scream from across the house, we had specific Practice Times. We would have the child be in another room from us and tell them, “Now we are going to practice Good Manners in asking me a question.”

          If they screamed, I would say, “No Betty, that is not respectful to scream at me. Please come into the room and speak to me face to face.” And we would have them walk over to me and address me. And we’d all applaud that it was done right! Then we’d practice it again and again until they came to me right away without the screaming.

          Lots of practice, lots of reinforcement. We would do this several times a day and several days in a row until it was becoming the Default on how they spoke to me.

          In the car, we’d have them raise their hands (of course, there were 10 of us so it got pretty loud and busy with so many different conversations) and if they didn’t get noticed right away, we taught them to say, “May I have your attention, Momma?” And I’d either stop and say, “Absolutely” or “One moment please.”

          It CAN be done, it just takes a lot of work on our parts, lots of consistency and making sure we are keyed in to the needs of all our family members. But a joy and blessing in the long run with respectful well-mannered children, confident that they have a voice and will be heard!

          • day

            I don’t think Lu has it entirely wrong, but maybe she didn’t say that before you ignore them, you need to tell them a time or two what is expected. Then once you’re sure they’re clear on what they need to do (ie come to mom instead of yelling) then is the time to ignore when they yell. When you don’t answer, they will come looking. Then when they arrive and speak to you, you praise their good behaviour, “Thank you for coming to talk to me honey, what is it you need?”. Bad behaviour doesn’t always need to be punished, ignoring it sends a powerful message when used in conjunction with good information and positive reinforcement.

          • Desiree

            I agree with day. I have spoken to my son on multiple occasions about the correct way to handle questions from another room. Once in a while he will forget and yell “Mom, can I…” from the other room. After a brief pause you hear him say out loud “oh, yeah.” Then he happily trots to me to ask the question. I answer him without even mentioning that he yelled from the other room, because he already knows what he did wrong and took steps to correct the behavior on his own. Problem solved. 🙂

          • jess

            Training is a term used for dogs. Teaching is for children. You speak as if you train your children like dogs.

          • Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

            To train: “to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction.”

            I’m sorry if my use of the word train offends you. It IS an appropriate word for use with children, adults, soldiers and people in general.

          • Denny

            (Child places hand on wrist. Adult acknowledges gesture.
            After a pause to complete the adult conversation, we turn to the child.)
            “Okay, what was it you wanted to tell Mommy?”
            “The cat’s on fire.”

        • Jana

          Ugh, I can’t stand that bellowing from another room in the house. After the second “MOM!”, I say “I’m in the _____ room”. That helps them remember to COME to me.

          • MamaWolf

            The worst part is that I have a baby as well now, and he is often napping when she decides to scream for my attention– like at bedtime, when she’s already tucked in and he’s already asleep. DH and I are watching TV, and out of nowhere “MOoooooooOOooM! DaaaaaaAAAdddd!” …At which point I curse under my breath and run through the house at breakneck speed before she calls out again, praying the baby either didn’t hear her or settles right back down. And she *does* yell a second (or even third) time if we don’t yell right back to her that we’re coming. Uugh. No matter how many times we’re all awake and she yells and I tell her she needs to come to where I am to talk to me, she Still. Does. This.

            I swear I think she knows she can manipulate me with noise. Keeping that baby asleep is my top priority. *L*

        • carol

          I’d suggest ignoring him [so he doen’t get mileage out of his unacceptable behavior] until he comes into the room where you are and then asking him to respond in a quite tone. If this doesn’t succeed try a short time out whenever he screams at you and then having him “practice” what he wants to say in an acceptable volume.

        • Sommer

          My kids yell at me from across the house but instead of answering, I just tell them to come here. I won’t yell back an answer but I also don’t want to ignore them. If they need to tell me something they can come to me to say it at an appropriate volume.

        • jenean

          We use This method with my nephew and in the car he asks once and then puts his hand on his head so we remember to address him when we r finished talking. Then at least he feels he is doing something to remind us he is waiting.

        • Nod Smleh

          When my kids would scream across the house at me, I’d scream back, “I’m in the kitchen!” or “I’m in the bedroom!” That’s all I’d respond, and they would figure out that they had to come to my location to carry on a conversation.

        • Sue

          On a different comment, I would like to reply to Mamawolf, 19 July 2014. She tells us the baby is asleep and child number 1 is not asleep yet, but yells out from bed in order to get mom to come. My request is that MamaWolf try to give up her tv time with daddy. Child number one is lonely in her bed. I was that child and could never fall asleep. I needed desperately to be held. One night my father let me fall asleep while I had my arm around his neck. When I awoke in the morning I thought “Oh! My daddy stayed with me!” I thought he was still there but it was my stuffed animal instead. Another insight is that my mother had a baby sister that would asked to be hugged. They would hear her saying “Hugga me! Hugga me!” but would not go to her. She was 3 years old and my mom was 11. I know about her cries for hugs because my grandmother explained to me that was part of the anguish of losing her to a drunk driver. Go to your child and hold her until she falls asleep. She is too little to be sure of herself all alone upstairs. ~mother of ten

      • Kathryn

        I have always used the hand on the shoulder instead of the hand on the wrist. In a car that may make more sense. I do like being able to “reply” silently with your own hand on top of the child’s. Thanks for the tip.

      • joysez

        Kate, if in the car, we practice something called quiet hands and mouth. It takes some practice where we have a few moments of quietness. So no music nothing. .(starting with 5 mins and so on) this happens when it gets really hyper in the car. Then if they have anything emergency I hv my arms to acknowledged then stop the car if possible. My kids know that I will attend to them when I stopp the car.
        Another pointer about the uninterrupted gesture is not to deprived them of situations thats of urgent. I tell my kids that if its an emergency they hold my hands/thighs n whisper to my ears urgent/emergency. Which then I would stop my conversation.

      • Cat

        I believe making a statement of truth is important, yelling in a car or anything that is distracting to the driver is dangerous. Simply pull over the car and not move the car until everyone has settled down giving explanation that it’s dangerous or distracting to the driver who wants to bring everybody safely to the next destination. This usually is only done a couple times and kids realize the importance of safe driving and the car voice.

      • blair

        We tell our kids they may address us. They may say mom or dad one time only

    • Cami

      Hi. I have a 5 yr old and we use the technique where he says “Excuse me Mum” and then I raise my hand to signal to him that I heard him then finish that part of my conversation then ask how I can help him. I keep my hand raised until I can speak with him so he knows I haven’t forgotten.

      • expatsincebirth

        Yes, Cami, my kids do the same. I can’t always raise my hand and keep it raised until I can speak but eyecontact, if possible (i.e. in the car, while driving, one gaze into the rear mirror has to be enough…), needs to suffice. I think that children need also to learn that there are moments where they just should wait until one is ready. – All kind of signs work beautifully if accompained with a gaze and a smile 😉

        • Kate

          I think that is a nice gentle approach too. I like the hand on the wrist because it seemed subtle. And yes a gaze and a smile is all really that is needed to show the child that they are not being ignored, that what they want to say is important to you and that they will get their turn to talk soon.

    • Mary Ellen

      I have not used this wrist/shoulder trick, but my 3 year old and 8 year olds are pretty good about saying “excuse me, mom” when they want to ask a question while I’m talking to someone else unless, you, know they’re going to die because they’re “starving.” haha

    • Patti

      For situations when you can’t offer an arm or wrist, try simply showing the letter “i” hand formation from sign language…all fingers/thumb down (as in a fist), with only the pinky finger straight up. We tell our daughter the word “interrupt” starts with the letter “i” and when we show this sign, it’s her reminder she’s interrupting and to please wait. We hold it up until we finish our chat, then direct our attention to her while putting our “i” down so she knows it’s her turn.

  4. Anissa

    Such a simple, but fantastic idea – adding this to the parenting ‘back-pack’ – thank you!

  5. Brooke

    Love, love, love this. I am going to implement this today! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  6. Bek @Just For Daisy

    Yes, we’ve used this before but somehow it has disappeared from our home too! Look forward to training both our girls to use this again! 🙂

  7. Josh Courteau

    We have found that with our 1.2 Y/O we could use this same concept- of course the younger they are, the more they will need gentle reminders. When lil’ man wants something and a scream or a tantrum is near, we remind him that we are there to help if needed by saying “tick tick tick” and tapping our arm. He (mostly) will then come up to us and tap our arm (and now that he’s verbal…says ‘tick tick tick’). This gives him words and actions during his frustration and gives us a reminder to be gentle and wait for him to call for us in a respectful way.
    I will totally adapt/adopt this idea into our system, thanks!

  8. Perri Baxter

    Anne Marie and Gary Ezzo have many great tools to help you train up your children. We used their material with all three and now have two amazing teenagers and one 21 years old who are a blessing.

    • Mama Gaia

      The Ezzos have been excommunicated from every single church they ever leached off of and their baby Unwise practices are harmful and terrible. Their adult children do not speak to them any longer…so how do you suppose that their parenting techniques are ones to follow? My guess is that your children will likely need to therapy to recover from your “training”….

      • Elletnahc

        Mama Gaia…you comments are inappropriate and unhelpful. I have used Gary Ezzo’s Babywise practices and find them to be very helpful and very loving. I am not sure what you have read, but I fear that you have been misinformed.

      • Kate

        Your guess would be very wrong. I am not aware of the Ezzos nor their parenting techniques and so I am not going to comment on that. I do know though that this technique teaches children to learn social cues and participate in conversations respectfully.

      • JW

        I am with you Mama Gaia. I know people who swear by their methods. I find them unacceptable. I find the idea of letting an infant cry because their basic needs have been met to be abominal. Infants and all children for that matter need to feel loved, secure, and valuable. American pediatrics association calls the Ezzo’s feeding suggestions dangerous, not only can it cause milk production problems for the mother, it can put the child at risk of not gaining weight and dehydration. Babies need to eat when they need to eat, not when someone says its time. Add the cultic characteristics: twisting scripture, authoritarianism, exclusivisim, isolationism, and physical and and emotional endangerment, I would not use them. My sister-in-law swears by them, even used to teach classes. She has 5 kids 3 are great, two have issues like many large families. They might have some usuable ideas but I would be very careful of their suggestions.

        • JW

          I should add I do like the non-interuption suggestion in the articke though. I am going to try it.

  9. J

    My parents used this technique well before we ever heard about the ‘Gods Way’ course. I really does work! So when we did the couse for our firstborn s couple of yesrs ago, we were really surprised to see the technique used! But glad we’d known about and already implemented 🙂

  10. cherricowen

    My daughter has my 2 yr old grandson say, “Excuse me” – and sometimes he has to repeat it a couple of times if the adults continue to talk. But it works and she affirms his good manners!

    • Kate

      We taught Jack and Sarah ‘Excuse me” as well however we also wanted something which would help them to learn to wait for their turn to talk.

      • Kate

        I didn’t know this was used in Montessori schools Rachel. I think it is a lovely peaceful way for children to learn to wait their turn to speak.

        • Colleen

          I am a first grade teacher and I had a student in my class this year, every time he wanted something he would come to my desk and touch me or my desk top. Not necessarily an interruption but I felt like my personal space was invaded. So I was always scolding him for not giving me my “bubble” because it felt rude to me… but I know he attended Montessori in pre K and kindergarten so I now wonder if he was just doing as he was taught!

          • Cat

            First grade teacher, what impressionable years you teach. Scolding him for touching your desk or your wrist, you sound like you’re the harsh one. This generation is the likes of no other generation teaching needs to be updated, maybe it’s time to retire.

  11. Diane Bird

    I will be implementing this into our busy family…thanks for the idea. Its gentle and rewarding for us all…Love it 🙂

  12. Ariadne

    We use this at our home too and it works really well! Sharing as I know many parents will love this!!

    • Kate

      We still struggle with in the car Katie. At the moment we give them a glance in the rearview mirror and I raise my hand a little or otherwise if my husband or I am in the front passenger’s seat then we turn, make eye contact and put our hand on our own wrist as a visual cue. When there is a break in the conversation they generally start talking again or we will ask them what they wanted to say. We are still working on it though.

  13. Beata

    I definitely have to try this 🙂 Sounds awesome.

  14. jessica pilton

    Hey Kate! We have used this technique for a while with Alannah (almost 4) Tiffany hasn’t been able to grasp it yet, she might needs a few more months. It works very well. =) Jess xx

  15. Allena

    This is one great tip I learned from GKGW. But thankfully I didn’t use the “put your baby on an eat-wake-sleep schedule or he will ruin your life” nonsense from his Babywise book.

    • Kate

      I think that is the important thing; to use your own judgement when it comes to parenting advice. If something seems like it could be effective and sits comfortably with your family values then give it a go. Otherwise leave it.

    • wolfpackmomma

      I used his “nonsesnse eat-wake-sleep cycle” and each of my four kuds were sleeping at least 8 hours in length at night by 10 weeks. As a NICU nurse, I see the relevance in this schedule. Babywise “schedule” is flexible and forgiving.

  16. vspatz

    I’m not sold. Implies that anything a child would have to say is not ever germane or always needs adult approval — “ack!” Also requires cooperation of the other adults in the room for the child to speak. And we all know that there are adults who will talk over anyone at anytime for any reason. Still, strategies that include something to mean “I want to speak” and something else to mean “I see that, we’ll get to you” have their merits.

    • Lottie

      “I’m not sold. Implies that anything a child would have to say is not ever germane or always needs adult approval — “ack!” the alternative is a child not waiting to interrupt, so depends what you find most “ack”, personally I think manners and social niceties are important. I don’t see how this implies a child always needs adult approval to say anything worthwhile, just that if someone is in a conversation, it’s rude to continually verbally interrupt (although I’m sure we’ve all spent time with those children/parents who seemingly are fine with it). But I expect the same of my adult friends too, does that suggest they need adult approval to speak too? In a classroom setting what would you prefer? Everyone shouts? Puts hands up? What would work for you?

      • Kate

        I agree Lottie. I do not think this suggests that a child needs the adult’s or parent’s permission to speak. Rather we are teaching them good manners; teaching them that when you want to speak then unless it is an emergency, then you need to wait your turn. vspatz I think you would agree that interrupting someone is rude and I know as an adult that I find it rather off-putting.

        While children are still learning to regulate their emotions and actions, I think a visual cue is very helpful.

        You are right, adults will talk over other people and this is why we are trying to teach our children (through a visual cue as well as through modelling appropriate behaviour) that one needs to wait to speak. This is a very important social and conversation skill.

        • Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

          Over the years we’ve had our young children comment on the rude behavior of adults (“why do we have to XYZ when Mrs. B doesn’t?”)

          We tell them that are aren’t Mrs. B’s parents, but that our job is to teach THEM what is a kind and loving way to respond. But they are free to (respectfully) tell US if we are not behaving in the ways we expect them to. And in this point, we don’t interrupt when another person is speaking, especially not if our children are speaking!

          And I agree with Lottie and Kate, this doesn’t teach that our children need “permission” to speak. It shows them that we value what they say and there is order to all things, even when we want to talk.

      • loveoflearningchildcare

        I 100% agree Lottie! It is rude to inturrupt while anyone is speaking. We dont inturrupt one another as adults. I believe this technique shows the child how to respect the person speaking. This is a value they will carry throughout their lives.

  17. Bluebird

    Sounds good, but also creepy that the Ezzo fold use this technique. I can’t stand their techniques, which basically caused many tiny babies to be malnourished because of their intense, adult focused ea/sleep schedule.

    • sue

      I agree! Gods way and couch time are cruel concepts, and I’ve personally seen how children behave when their parents implement this technique: frightened, mean children without light in their eyes and always begging for attention. So sad. 🙁

      • Kate

        I don’t know anything about the Ezzos or God’s Way so I can’t comment. What I do know though is that I find this technique to be respectful of both the child and the adults and I think it is helping my children to learn how to contribute to conversations.

    • k

      I couldn’t disagree more. I have three children, now 13-23 yrs old. I was feeding my firstborn “on demand”. We were both miserable. I was basically a human pacifier, nursing most of the day. Firstborn was up off and on all day, willy-nilly. Went to Dr. Denmark just to meet a legend… She said demand feeding makes for demanding babies. She was RIGHT as far as I could see. We went to the 7:00am, 11:00, 3:00, 7:00pm, 11:00pm schedule. For like 12 days, it was torture but after that, I had the happiest baby in the world! Suddenly, she nursed on a schedule for only like 22 minutes, rather than all day. My “bottles” were FULL, her tummy was FULL, my body was like a clock and hers was too. It was the single greatest thing of my parenting!

  18. V (Lifeplus1)

    Brilliant! I love the brilliance in simplicity. Sometimes we overcomplicate things to the point where they become a lot of confusing hard work. This is a great example that not everything has to be complicated to be effective.

    Thank you so much for sharing this great advice!!

    V @ Life+1

  19. annkroeker

    It works. My teens still use it. Sometimes when they were little, they’re impatient little hands would squeeze tighter and tighter and tighter if the other person took too long and I couldn’t break in and say, “Would you excuse me for just a minute. Yes, dear?”

    • Marc

      For the long term, I would argue that perhaps white males could learn to pause & listen better, rather than others becoming better at interruption. Anyway a persistent hand on the shoulder (the Montessori way) is difficult to ignore. I do it sometimes with others who have not even been indoctrinated and guess what? More often than not, they finish their thought, then look at me expectantly. I also do this with children who I know, if they are speaking: true modeling is necessary if you expect them to follow it. – Marc (Montessori teacher & white male)

    • Cara

      Fantastic article – thank you for sharing it. It was very enlightening.

      I think that it’s important that all people learn to watch and listen to others – that’s when you know the right time to interrupt or join in. Having regular times when no one speaks at all and all communication is done via facial expression can help with this.

  20. EtienneChabot

    How do you manage to do it when having a family dinner end everyone sits around the table? Or in the car? Looks nice in theory but hard to implement in practice.

    • Kate

      The car is a little more difficult and I did respond above with how we approach that. I actually find though that around the dinner table is where we’ve seen the most improvement. We have a round dinner table and since we are in such close proximity to each other the kids are able to easily reach our wrists.

      Sometimes when they interrupt and we are speaking we will look at them so we know they want to speak and reach out our arm to them. This is a little reminder for them that it will be their turn to talk next.

    • sheridan90

      Just an idea about being at the dinner table, you could have a physical object and leave it in the middle of the table. Who ever needs/wants to speak next grabs the object and this lets the rest of the table know that once this conversation is finished the person with the object has something they would like to say.

  21. Lori

    We did the same thing with our boys when they were young and now even as teenagers they know how to wait, but still do it with me. When my oldest was in kindergarten I got a phone call from his teacher asking me about why he would lightly place his hand on her arm and stand and wait. I explained what we do and she loved it. Started using it with whole class. Works great!

    • Marc

      You can start modelling even before that: place your hand on the infant’s shoulder if s/he is busy or engaged with something and you want to say something. Begin to enforce the child to do that at about 3 years old – some will take to it immediately, others can take as much as a couple of months. Shoulder may be better than wrist because the young child’s interaction with the world is more through the hands than the voice – so touching the wrist.may be tantamount to an interruption itself.

  22. Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

    We started doing this 26 years ago with our oldest daughter (then 15 months) and used it for all 8 of our children. We had them put their hand on our knees or our arm, whichever they could reach. 😀

    It is so important that we gently teach our children that there is order in our lives and that they aren’t the center of the universe 😉 , but that being little doesn’t mean being unimportant or invisible. We tried to look at all their childish behavior that was inappropriate in the long run and give them a respectful alternative.

  23. kate @ livinglovinglaughing

    Thanks so much for sharing our little technique, Kate! It has been a huge help in our household, giving our kids a way to respectfully get their chance to speak while also showing respect to us and those we are talking to. While they dont remember it 100% of the time (hey, I dont either!), it does make a big difference to have that ‘tool’ available. A little self control practise goes a long way 😉

    Oh, and for those above who were asking about in the car or across the house – yes, that’s a bit trickier! I would usually just quickly say to them ‘Excuse me, you are interrupting us, please wait until we are done’ or for yelling just let them know if they need me, they need to come and talk to me in a normal voice as yelling hurts my ears 🙂 Putting a hand up is a good idea too!

    xx Kate

  24. lorrainemonty

    You can hand a child a token when waiting – something they can hold to reinforce their understanding that you are aware they are waiting. They return it to you when you speak to them. This is helpful for younger children or those who need a concrete reminder that you acknowledge their need for your attention. If you fear you will forget – make the token a hand held digital timer. It rings? You interrupt yourself to address the waiting person. After all, making them wait too long is poor manners on your part 🙂

  25. sarah

    Any tips for calling out in group/class situations. My 4yo just can’t seem to help herself and has to blurt out her answer as it pops into her head.

  26. James

    It seems like a method to condition a child. I’d rather do the adult thing and ask my child what she needs instead of having her place her hand on my wrist while I carry on a conversation. Children should be allowed to be children. They grow up too fast these days in age. Revel in their little nuances and let them learn at their own pace. Just my thoughts really

    • Marc

      I would have thought so too, until I saw it at work. Have no fear, the child with an urgent need will go pat-pat-pat-pat or stick her face in front of your nose while holding your shoulder (very cute). I have seen they also have a surprisingly good sense of priorities: for example if someone is hurt or doing something dangerous, the rule goes out the window, as it should.

      Very important: it’s all about giving the child the same respect you ask of them. If you must interrupt, do it the same way – modelling is the only effective way to teach behavior (good or bad) to children. this method even works with others (adults & children) who have not been “conditioned”! …Try putting your hand on another’s shoulder while they are talking. Resulting response is frequently as expected – without any training at all!

  27. katelyn hordichok

    Tips foe driving in the car when children are unable to touch you? Thanks!

    • Marc

      Try a talking stick (can also be used ad the dinner table), with caveat: the driver is the only one who gets to interrupt or speak without the stick. Don’t abuse driver’s position, and include adults in the rule or it will fail miserably. The driver exception is a safety thing (as well as a secret conflict resolution tool), and is explained along with never hit the driver, never throw things at the driver, never kick the driver’s seat, etc.

  28. Laura

    They teach this method at the Montessori school I used to direct. Really does work. I had forgotten about it an need to reimplement it soon. Thinking OI might tell a few of my friends about it so they can help me break my 42 yr old bad habit, too!!!

  29. cgreensel

    Wow, this is so utterly simple and really worth trying. Now how do I break MYSELF from interrupting other people?

  30. Jewel

    Good idea, my little boy isn’t too bad for interrupting these days, but the DH is, might try it on him.

  31. MMcAdoo

    Good idea for dealing with mom/dad – but what about others? And when he goes to school……….does he put his hand on the teacher’s hand? Classroom interruptions are a big problem for all the kids and teachers.

    • Dee

      Yes! The “tappers” are unbearable in the classroom, following me around tapping on me for attention. I love this idea for parents/families, but at school, having them touch me constantly is about as appealing as all the interrupting. Young students can learn to raise their hands to speak, and I teach them that when I raise one finger up like a “one” that means “one minute” and I’ll get to you. Trouble is, we can’t always get to everyone every time, or we’d never get anything done. 🙂

      • Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

        I would like to say that this is what we did to train our YOUNG children (age 15 months – 3 or so). By that point in time they learned to wait and listen for a ‘break’ in the conversation to interject something. None of our children past the age of 4 did this, so I don’t see why a child in school (unless you mean 2 year olds in preschool) would be doing this.

  32. Jill Craft

    I was interested in this article for one of my grandchildren. When I read it I was startled. This technique was a very similar story that my daughter-in-law told me that her mother had used for her. She always felt minimized by her Mom, and she never felt that her needs were important. This method was just one thing that made her feel that way. I’m actually babysitting my grandchildren tomorrow while she goes to a therapist to deal with the impact of her relationship with her Mom, and how she can/should relate to her now. I just felt the need to add this to the conversation.

    • Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

      Jill, I’m so sorry that your daughter-in-law struggles so much with her relationship with her mom. But I do want to say this. Having a method of training good manners of not interrupting for our children is not what makes them feel minimized. An attitude behind it of ‘children are to be seen and not heard’ will!

      We taught our children how not to interrupt so that they COULD be heard! We wanted our children to feel valued, to have a voice and to let them know that no one in the family would interrupt them when they were talking.

      I know it is hard for someone with other issues to see 1 thing and think, “I know what THAT will do to children, it will make them feel unimportant.” When, in reality, it was a lifetime of a parent viewing their child’s needs as unimportant and turning every child training method both good and bad) into a vehicle for that wrong attitude.

      Again, I’m so sorry for your daughter-in-law’s struggles but I trust you will look to the heart of teaching good manners and know you can teach them (whether through this method or others) and not minimize your children (or grandchildren) in any way.

  33. Kim

    I was struck by you mentioning about students who would read a sentence but could not grasp the meaning of it. Is there a way to teach that or learn to do that? I would love to know.

  34. Miss Jane

    Used this method for years in my early childhood classrooms. Parents were thunder-struck at their children’s ability.

  35. Robin

    Used this practice with both of my children, it really works. They are both grown now, but on occasion my daughter will do this if she really needs to speak with me and I am already engaged in a conversation with someone. Do it, it works.

  36. Diane

    Any method will work when several things are kept in mind. First- show love, respect and patience. Second- children are not miniature adults. A minute to them seems like hours. The wait time needs to be brief with little ones and extended as they grow. Third- the needs of others, children as well as adults, are every bit as important as your own. We have taken the ‘experts’ philosophy of ‘you have to be happy yourself before you can be anything to others’ and turned it into a ‘me first’ attitude. Being happy is a decision you make for yourself and is not dependent on others’ actions, even those of an insistent toddler. Fourth- apologize. Children need to view us as fallible humans. When they see that we recognize that, we make mistakes, we aren’t always just, but we value their understanding and forgiveness, they become sensitive and compassionate people.

  37. Dena Schaefer

    This sounds fabulous! My only question is, how do you make this work when you are in the car? I drive a minivan, and my boys are still in car seats.

  38. Antonio

    it came 21 years late but I started practicing it with my 13 years old boy… it is never to late to start.. it is working!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. bpgagirl22vanow

    Wish I’d known this technique back when my kids were small!

  40. Dawn

    Is it bad that I taught my 6 yr old how to do it just yesterday and I FORGET even after I put my hand on his to acknowledge him? Lol AND when he finally gets to talk its “um,uh,let me think,I forgot” 🙂

  41. 1alesia

    I love this idea. I am adopting my 2 grandsons and the 3 yr old is constantly interrupting! The car is a big one for me,both boys NEED to speak at once and then fight because the other interrupted! I will be putting this into practice today!

  42. Ro Little

    ahhh … how did you know this is the exact issue I’m having with my 6 year old??!! You read my mind!! Thanks soooooo much for the suggestion of how to fix it!! Going to implement it TODAY!! Wish me luck …

  43. rose

    Awesome. Tip. Thanks my 4yr old does this alot and I don’t know how to stop it. Now I do. Question…how would this work in the car if me and my husband are talking and he wants to say something. Lol

  44. Hannah

    I do this same thing with my 4 year old. Been during it for probably a year now. Sometimes she needs a gentle reminder but it works so well.

  45. Annette

    I love this technique and wish I had known about it 20 years ago, though I still think it could work with my 10 & 12 yr olds.

  46. Pye

    I adore this idea! May I share it with the parents of my students when we return to school in a month?!

  47. Allison

    I started doing the very same thing about 4 years ago with my son, who was 4 at the time. I asked him to put his hand on my arm near my hand and wait until I was done and turned to him. It was just a natural thing I came up with one day when I couldn’t stop him from interrupting me at a play date. It is a great sign of respect to the parent and shows good manners to other children and adults. Now I have begun with my 3 year old daughter. I love this simple strategy! It really does work beautifully. I like the simple act of placing your hand over the child’s hand to acknowledge them. I am going to implement that now, as I truly believe it is a way of showing respect to your child.

  48. Bob Santamaria

    I lock mine in the wardrobe for a couple of days if they interrupt adults or otherwise behave in a rude fashion. It works every time too.

  49. thedragondreams

    My mum taught us this and since there were 5 of us it worked well for everyone.
    Unfortunately I was the child that was over excitable and sometimes literally could not wait..
    But in general, it does work. 🙂

  50. Niki_Kate

    I am amazed that this is working with your children. It didn’t work when my mother tried it with me many years ago. It just felt like she was ignoring me even more. At least if I tried to interrupt and she gave me the one minute mark, it showed she was aware. When she put her hand on mine it always made me feel like she was blatantly ignoring me which ultimately caused a major communication breakdown and I stopped trying to tell her anything. This continued through high school and into adulthood.

    Now when I’m in a conversation I hate it when people try to touch me because of the whole experience.

  51. Arden Rembert Brink

    I think this is a great idea. We often take care of our 3-year old granddaughter, and she has learned to say “Excuse me” when she wants to interrupt, but then she does have a tendency to expect immediate response. This is a great technique to teach the ability to wait for a moment to have their say. As others have said, I’m sure the loving connection with their little hand, a look that conveys “your turn is coming soon”, and so on are useful as well, but properly done I think it’s a great technique!

  52. Barbara Tessitore

    What a fantastic method! I’m going to share it with my 2 adult children and use it with my 4 grandchildren. (Maureen Schaaf’s sister)

  53. Gail Moseley

    There was a lot of food for thought in both the article and the discussion. I would like to add two things that is similar but slightly off topic that we need to teach out children: First, when people are already engaged in a conversation and you would like to converse with them, it is not enough to wait for a pause and them jump in with a different subject. Listen to the topic and evaluate whether or not you have something to contribute on the topic. Second, listen long enough to determine what the topic actually is, and do not simply find a key word to turn the topic to something about yourself. An example of the second point occurred one Monday morning before class had started, when I had asked “Bob” how his weekend had been. He started to tell me about visiting his grandmother’s farm. “Jim” jumped in, talking about a previous visit to his own grandmother’s farm. I said, “That sounds like fun, “Jim,” but we weren’t actually talking about farms; we were talking about “Bob’s” weekend. let’s hear what he has to say.” These kids were in high school.

  54. Lisa

    This is what they do at the Montessori school that my kids attend except they touch the shoulder of the teacher since the teacher may be using their hands. It works great.

  55. sarahv42

    I heard that from Doctor Dobson a long time ago…it works 70% of the time (which is a lot better than before!) I also use it in my classroom with young kids.

  56. Nathan Donovan

    This works great, unless your child has an emergency – such as reporting a stranger who approached them, or that they are hurt, or if they have a question that requires a timely response. Teaching a child patience is all well and good, but teaching them that all circumstances require patience all the time can be potentially problematic.

  57. B

    I don’t think this is a great thing to teach a kid, because you really can’t use touching as a tactic with mild acquaintances or strangers, or people who aren’t aware of this method. I would be annoyed or weirded out if some random kid came up to me and held their hand on my waist until I paid attention to them. Shouldn’t we set them up with long-term skills? This isn’t a method that will serve a child long-term. Imagine someone walking up to you at work and doing this! I think it makes more sense to teach them accepted methods that adults use in daily life, such as a verbal, “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but…” Interrupting a conversation politely is a thing that everyone needs to learn — and interrupting politely is something everyone needs to do at some point, even kids.

    • Kate

      You’re right. This isn’t a long-term approach. It is part of a long-term approach. It is teaching our children to be aware of when they want to speak and helping them to learn to read natural pauses in conversations. This is a technique for young children while they are still learning to regulate their impulses. It is teaching them to wait before they speak.

      I agree, learning to interrupt a conversation respectfully is something everyone needs to learn. I think this little visual cue is one of the ways we can help our young children to learn this. This isn’t something an adult would still be using since they would have hopefully learnt how to respectfully engage in conversations by then.

      • Jessica

        I love this idea however I think sometimes adults are engaged in a conversation which isn’t okay for littles ears. I do find it important to be respectful of the person I am speaking to. This technique perplexes me when it comes to a child standing and listening to people having a conversation. How do you address this technique when the conversation is deemed “not kid friendly.”

  58. Sharron

    I lift one finger to acknowledge them and remind them to “wait
    one minute” then touch my temple to tell them, “remember because I want to hear what you have to say” Works quite well with my grandkids.

  59. Cynthia

    I immediately implemented this after I read it and it worked beautifully!!!!! What a blessing!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  60. Sarah O

    My daughter has a tendency to let her attention wander everywhere when I’m trying to tell her something and her attention is all over the place. When I’m showing her something, or giving her direction and she can’t manage to give me her full attention, I kneel to her level and have her place both of her hands on each of my cheeks as I speak. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful.

    • Arden Rembert Brink

      That’s a great idea for “capturing” their attention — often our littles need help focusing, and that’s a wonderful loving way to connect *and* focus!! Thanks.

  61. Chris

    Seems reasonable. How about emergency situations, say when a child is hurt or water is pouring out of a sink or toilet upstairs? It seems that a special signal of some sort would be appropriate. Thoughts?

    • joysez

      I taught my kids to similar with hands to thighs/ shoulder and whisper emergency/urgent.

  62. sheridan90

    What a wonderful and mutually respectful technique to teach children we appreciate their conversation but not at the expense of being rude to others.
    I love it

  63. airdrummer

    great idea, but i’m pained to read “Just a simple visual gesture; a little touch of the wrist.” the adjective you are groping for is “tactile”

  64. Mary Gillam

    Do you have a hint when children go to some ones home and want to touch everything they see?

  65. ferreestyle

    Yes, don’t we all hate it when a child interrupts our important conversations? And yet … A couple weeks ago at church, I watched a child who needed to ask her parents something. The parents ignored the child, except to “hush” her. It took several minutes before her dad was willing to interrupt his conversation with something to find out what the child wanted. I feel a little bit like he was purposely making her wait to teach her a lesson. He then answered her with “ask your mother.” She went through the same song and dance with mom. Ten minutes later, she finally got permission to go downstairs with me to help me in my classroom. I was sorry I had invited her, as I had things I needed to get done quickly. An adult might butt in and say, “excuse me just a moment…” but a child doesn’t have the finesse to do that. We forget that if we treat a child like his needs are secondary, and what is important to her is not important to us, then we may be teaching them something unintended. All this to say, I hope the hand doesn’t have to stay on the wrist for too long. And you might want to make sure they know it’s okay to interrupt – loudly – if someone is in trouble – bleeding or playing in the street….

  66. jinate

    We’ve done the touch on the shoulder and stand quietly (w/out moving) many years ago – SOOO helpful!

  67. Mary

    Wow, I am 66 and just finding out about this simple step. I am going to try it with the grandkids. Let you know how it works out. Mary

  68. tracie

    What do you Do when driving in the car??? Often my daughter interrupts when I am having conversations with my husband while driving and she is in the back and is relentless.

  69. miriam

    HI, I tam a volunteer teacher in a lower community school since the last year. My students age range from 7-10 years. I have a hard time explaining why they should not interrupt when I am speaking to someone, giving directions and teaching in class. They just draw a blank stare. This is because even at home their parents who haven’t gone to school, do the same. The teachers from the local community also do the same. I taught them to raise a quiet hand or say “Excuse Me” incase of emergencies, but they can’t wait for more than 3-4 seconds. What do you suggest will work since they all can’t come out of the place and touch my wrist?. But your idea is really good to work with children at home.

  70. turtlenunn

    I’ve done this consistently for months and it has not helped one bit. Not. One. Bit. He’s just as bad as before…

  71. Zoe

    My daughter’s kindergarten teacher teaches all of her students this very early in the year and it works amazingly. I know how frustrating (for lack of a better word- at least for my sleep deprived mind) it can be for everyone when my daughter just HAS to tell us something right when we are speaking to someone else, I can’t even imagine having a class of 20 5 year olds that just have to tell you something as you are speaking to the principal, a parent, etc.

  72. Science Kiddo

    Thanks for the simple tip! It’s so easy and simple I can’t believe it’s not common practice. We are implementing this TODAY!

  73. Designing Bee

    Thank you for this great tip!! With this implemented wrist idea, it allows for both parties, the child and the parent to understand that they are equally respected. The child will know that he/she is acknowledged in wanting to express themselves and will have a chance to speak when the parent acknowledges his/her turn. I like how it is a silent way of communicating to our children without interrupting the conversation and not having to loose the train of thought while talking to an adult.

  74. Charla

    I used something similar when my kids were growing up. They always wanted to tell me they were ready to go while I was visiting with someone. So we came up with a sign that let them know, I undertood they were ready and I would be closing my convrsation soon, but to please wait quietly….They would come put their hand in mine and givve it a gentle squeeze. I would squeeze back in recognition. It really worked well for us.

  75. robin

    That is part of “Growing kids Gods Way” it’s a book I read when my kids were young…

  76. kelly

    I like it….but what about when they interrupt others, who are not in the know with the wrist system?

  77. Cathy White

    Oh gosh, thank you for sharing, I will definitely try this at home with our 3 kiddies. What a kind and respectful way to approach this situation xxx

  78. Amy

    We have used this. And still do to some extent. Our children are noe 10 and 13. It also has eased frustration with my children wishing to talk with other adults speaking in a group who ignore them because most think that children have nothing meaningful to contribute to adult conversation. We now have a new problem and that is general interupting or cutting eachother off when speaking to eachother. Any ideas?

  79. Mommathree

    Man, you got some haters here! Sheesh! This is a good tip. I want to try and balance that with being able to interrupt politely (and urgently if necessary) if it’s one of the five B’s. Burning, bleeding, broken, barfing or blowing up. We get trained at work – why not at life?

  80. Zoe

    I will give it a try but I don’t know if it will work. My kids are 3, 3 and 2. They will turn it into a game, all of them clamoring to get their hands on me! And then, who do I put my hand on? 🙂

  81. Cyndi

    What about when my teen is talking to me and the little one in the booster seat in the back wants to talk? Can’t reach me, but super frustrating when he interrupts. Maybe a hand on his head or something…

  82. Katherine

    Thank you. My son is almost 4 and we will try this at home. But a question: what does the child do when it’s not a parent but a teacher or friend or other that he wants attention from and touching their wrist is inappropriate? 🙂 Thanks!

  83. Brian jennings

    My wife and I have found this to be very helpful, but acknowledging them by placing our hand on their hand is something we haven’t done. Thanks for sharing.

  84. chicks4612

    This technique was first brought to my attention over 15 years ago when my husband and I attended a “Growing Kids God’s Way” seminar at our church. You have to be consistent with the technique, but it works.

  85. margaret

    I love this Technique. It’s exactly what we need in our house. Any suggestions for how to make it work in the car??

  86. Helen

    Definitely going to try the gentle touch approach to getting a parent’s attention. Pretty excited to see how it works.

  87. Darlene

    I always taught mine that when they want to speak and I am talking I will raise 1 finger to signify I am aware of their presence and need to speak. My sister was quite impressed when our now 15 year old granddaughter entered the room at 3 and said Mimi that when I raised 1 finger she immediately stopped and waited for me to turn to her when it was her turn. Any gesture can be used and taught for them to be aware of but be sure not to take forever to turn to them and give them their turn or no gesture will work.

  88. Heidi

    I love this idea! … And for the times holding a wrist is not possible (like in the car, or because they are yelling from the other side of the house) I suggest non violent communication strategies (founder – Marshall Rosenberg – google it) — he teaches highly effective empathic communication techniques where everyone gets their needs met without compromise – here is the format: 1. State your Observation (without judgment) 2. Express your Feelings (not evaluations) 3. Express your Needs (universal human needs) 4. Makes your Request (not demand) — Non violent communication takes practice and is a way of life… once we understand the deeper principles, and begin to practice changing the way we talk to each other, it is absolutely amazing how it can enrich life in all ways.

  89. Tami

    How about in the car? Our daughter is constantly saying “excuse me guys” while we talk on car rides.

  90. kristina

    The technique of touching the adults wrist and waiting , not interrupting was taught to me as a child and at the 50+ I still use it today on grandchildren

  91. Heather

    This is a great idea that I will begin implementing right away, however, do you have suggestions for when we are at the dinner table and the child that desires to speak is sitting at such a distance away that they cannot reach the wrist of the adult? Thanks for this post! Have a delightful Thursday!

  92. mom

    Tried this over and over aaaand over again.. nope.. does not work for us. She just cannot stand still and quiet.

    • Kate

      Even just long enough for you to finish your sentence? I find just a few seconds is all they need.

  93. Starr

    Children want discipline but not with slapping. I was on a photography job out of town and staying with my clients for a week. Isabella, the 3 year old, would run in the house and scream at the top of her lungs. The parents ignored her, thinking that would stop it, but by the look on their face sI could tell they were at their wits end. Being a grandmother of 4, I asked if I could help. I taught Isabella the difference between inside and outside voice by going outside and screaming as loud as we could and running all over the yard. We would go back in the house and talk very softly and she was told why she should not run indoors. I used a hand signal with her when she would scream and she would immediately stop or would to go on the outside porch to scream and run in circles. Her parents were so grateful and 6 months later, she is not an inside screamer or runner. Children just want and need to be taught. What really warmed my heart she when I left she hugged me and said “Starr, you’re just like a grandma.”

  94. Les Basset

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I teach a class of 4-6 year olds. Honestly and truly, we NEVER get interrupted anymore – it used to drive us nuts, but not anymore! In the beginning, we simply corrected their interruption by saying “Please put your hand on my arm or I will not be able to allow you to speak when I am finished”. The most important gesture from me is acknowledging that they are there by placing my own hand on theirs. (We have to laugh however, because just a couple of the pre- kids think that when I am addressing the class in whole group instruction time, they can pop up and come and put their hand on my arm. Sometimes, I have to re-explain the difference between interrupting instruction time and a conversation)

    • Kate

      You are so welcome Les. I am so very happy to hear that it is working so well in your class.

  95. sbarfield

    Does anyone have any tips for better listening paying attention and cleaning room?

  96. Lisa

    Great idea here. As a parent, I’ve been wondering what things I do now, will affect my kids when they’re older. When I was a kid I interrupted all the time and my parents were always telling and /or yelling at me not to interrupt. Now, as an adult, I have that so drilled into me that I never interrupt anyone EVER. However, I find it really difficult to have a conversation with people because a lot of adults will talk about themselves non-stop and I find it difficult to jump in and contribute. I wonder if this hand thing could be weird or not acceptable as they age. You may say they’d outgrow it, but my 5 yr old still signs to me ahen he wants something and doesn’t even realize he’s still doing it.

  97. Mitch Ryan

    Hi, this is a problem in our household too. We tried talking to them about how rude it is, but of no use. I even thought of doing a survey in my blog to see how other parents deal with this. But I guess I don’t have to. Instead, I will make a blog post about our own experience maybe after a month. I will mention you in it, if you don’t mind. Thank you.

  98. Birgit

    We just implemented it with our 8 und 9 years old kids and it works amazingly!!!! Not only do we like it a lot, the children love it and be so aware of the benefit for all of us 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this!!!




  100. Annamarie

    Hi, I enjoy all your ideas. Thank you for sharing it to me. This interrupting one I have tried in my class and it worked definitely.

  101. Amanda

    Love this idea! But how does it work in the car!?

  102. rana .

    “I’m happy to report that the interrupting has all but stopped”… that means it hasn’t stopped :/

  103. Wendy

    I just taught my 7 year old daughter about the respectful signal so she does not interrupt and I promised to use it if I wanted to talk with her and she’s talking. She is so excited that we have already practiced a few times. Thank you for sharing this amazing technique! Happy Mother’s Day!?

  104. Sara

    I have a friend that taught her child to say “excuse me mom” when he wants to tell her something while she is having an adult conversation. The problem is, he says it 50 times over while we are still talking until she finally says, “yes honey what do you need”. It drives me batty. She doesn’t even stop him she lets him continue to say it over and over and over. It is very difficult. I like some of the techniques mentioned, so from a not yet parent point of view, it is so nice when children are respectful of grown up time/conversations! 🙂

  105. Danny Myers

    Wow, such a nice way…Just a gentle gesture, the annoying interruption will disappear. I must practice it with my kids tomorrow.
    Thanks for sharing the tip!

  106. Celia

    This sounds like a great idea but then what about when he tries to do it with other children or their parents who have no idea what he is doing.

  107. kathy

    Another solution is to teach some basic sign language. ie: “no” “wait” “later” “quiet” Simple words like that can be addressed quickly and even across the room. Start teaching at about 8 mos and you can continue to use those words till they move out. I taught my kids to put their hands on my leg or arm as toddlers when they wanted to say something and they used the same method all through their teenage years. The best way to teach is to pretend to talk on the phone and show them how to stand quietly for a minute then speak to them. Obviously a younger child you might need to start with a few seconds. Another idea is to make the child touch your side while you are checking out at a store or unlocking a car door

  108. Frann

    What would you recomend for when we are driving and my husband and I are talking?

  109. Grace

    Thanks for the reminder. I pinned this to a board. Im not sure but it looks like maybe. I should tell people my pins are repins from other people. I noticed someone else did that.

  110. Margo

    I have used this technique with my own children, a testy niece and the grandkids. Works like a charm every time! So glad a friend shared this with me decades ago. Consistency…… and respect for the child is key.

  111. Anita

    Yes it does work! Montessori pre-schools have been using this method since early 1900’s. Respect. I had a school and no matter how much in a hurry a child was, they did wait.
    Of course to start with the adult should finish their conversation own or activity asap …. Good luck everyone and have a nice day.

  112. Sue

    I would like to reply to Mamawolf, 19 July 2014. She tells us the baby is asleep and child number 1 is not asleep yet, but yells out from bed in order to get mom to come. My request is that MamaWolf try to give up her tv time with daddy. Child number one is lonely in her bed. I was that child and could never fall asleep. I needed desperately to be held. One night my father let me fall asleep while I had my arm around his neck. When I awoke in the morning I thought “Oh! My daddy stayed with me!” I thought he was still there but it was my stuffed animal instead. Another insight is that my mother had a baby sister that would asked to be hugged. They would hear her saying “Hugga me! Hugga me!” but would not go to her. She was 3 years old and my mom was 11. I know about the cries for hugs from little Kathleen because my grandmother explained to me that was part of the anguish of losing her to a drunk driver. Go to your child and hold her until she falls asleep. She is too little to be sure of herself all alone upstairs. ~mother of ten

  113. B

    What about emergencies? I assume that if a child needs attention NOW, they will be able to cut in.

      • Suzanne Ferenczy

        We had friends who taught their children well, so well in fact that the young daughter stood quietly waiting for her dad to pause and turn to her before interrupting even though what she had to say was important. When he paused and looked at her and asked her what did she want, she said the house is on fire. True story. I think it was leaves on the outside of the house up against the foundation, not on the inside. So while they were overjoyed with her for being so careful they realized she needed to know when it’s okay to take the initiative and interrupt. Praises came in the form of laughter, later, at what could have been disaster.

    • Kate

      My daughter was three when we started. I think it might be a bit hard for children younger than that.

  114. Brianna

    Thanks for this read. Its defently something we will try. I have to say i had a huge gasp scaring my husband reading this… My kids names are also Sarah and Jack. It was crazy and i would die if they had the same middle names.

  115. Kim

    We do this in my home, except I taught my girls to place their hand on my shoulder- it’s working great!

  116. Vanessa Gordon

    Thank u most of the comments seem do able. Thanx

  117. minecraft games

    Thanks for the reminder. I pinned this to a board. Im not sure but it looks like maybe. I should tell people my pins are repins from other people. I noticed someone else did that.

  118. Kristen

    It’s “all but stopped”? As in, the interrupting had done everything except for stop? In other words this doesn’t work? You may wanna change that phrase 😉

  119. Jeremy

    Anything to keep us from actually telling the child that their behavior is not OK. What is that teaching them? So when they go to school are they going to grab their teacher’s wrist every time they want to talk? I get wanting not to hurt a child’s feelings but I’ve never had a problem with gently but firmly saying ” I want to hear what you have to say as soon as I’m finished hearing what so and so has to say” again all for protecting feelings but not for this dedication our society has adopted to never exposing kids to even the slightest amount of stress.

    Sorry for the rant and the bad grammar. 🙂

    • Kate

      Oh no, rant away 🙂 And I can completely understand what you are saying. I found this technique to be very helpful when my children were younger. It taught them to wait before speaking. Now that they are older, they don’t use it anymore. I really like “I want to hear what you have to say as soon as I’m finished hearing what so and so has to say”, I think that is a nice and respectful approach too.

  120. Abigail

    This is such a great idea. My son is about to turn 3. He still might be a little young but I’m gonna start introducing the technique. Thanks for sharing.

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  122. 3doxiemom

    This is wonderful! We implemented it and it works beautifully! The grandchildren seem so happy to use it! Thanks for posting it.

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