I used to make jokes that the second I picked up the phone, my daughter always has something important to tell me (the same thing is true of my husband as well).
When it comes to interrupting, my children tend to do it way too much. We have been working hard to get them to practice good manners and interrupt much less. Here are some tips that we use:
1. Let them know the rules.
Your child needs to know that it is unacceptable to constantly interrupt you. Set some ground rules about waiting until you are finished speaking.
2. Teach them that saying “Excuse me” isn’t a free pass.
I am constantly reminding my daughter that even though she says excuse me, that doesn’t mean she can start talking right away. That simply lets me know that she has something to tell me and when I can take a break in the conversation, I will so that I can listen to her.
3. Be patient and remind them to wait their turn.
I do this for all three children. Ad naseum. I patiently remind them (most of the time) when they interrupt that they need to wait until we are finished talking to say what they have to say.
4. Teach them what is worth interrupting for.
I had to teach my children what was worth interrupting a conversation for. Blood or serious injury? Break right into my conversation. Telling on a sibling? Wait your turn. Helping my children decide what is worthy of an interruption was key to stopping those excessive interruptions.
5. Have them consider the alternatives.
This has been a very powerful lesson for my daughter. Once she has interrupted me a few times, I quietly ask her if what she has to say is so important that she could get into trouble or if it can wait a few minutes. Most of the time, once she considers it, she decides to wait a few minutes.
6. Give consequences for not following the rules.
I have put my daughter in time out a few times for interrupting me several times in a row. I hate when it goes that far but I have to let her know that the chronic interrupting is unacceptable. So sitting out for a few minutes helps her to gain some perspective.
7. Set the example.
I try not to interrupt my children or husband when they are talking. When it happens (of course I have the occasional slip up), I always apologize and let them finish what they were saying before talking.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE A CHRONIC INTERRUPTER?
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