Part of being a parent is teaching our kids not to interrupt us while we’re speaking, and to wait their turn. Bursting into a conversation is not only irritating and annoying, it’s reinforcing the idea that their own needs and wants come first, with little regard for others. And yet, they don’t seem to get the message that easily.
They might tug your arm and repeat endlessly “mom, mooom,” becoming more strident the more you ignore them, or they might latch on to your leg so that you eventually lean down and lend an attentive ear — all while trying to continue your adult conversation with as much dignity as possible. So, what can you do to avoid responding with an unrealistic “just give me two seconds!” or giving in and being rude to your interlocutor … and losing the thread of your conversation?
We could try saying calmly and composedly: “I’m speaking with an adult and then it’s your turn” — a technique often destined to fail, and which actually requires us to interrupt our conversation anyway.
But there’s another tip shared by an Australian blogger: a hand gesture. There’s nothing more simple: the child learns to place his hand on the wrist or forearm of the adult when he wants to talk, and in return, the adult places her hand on top of the child’s hand to show she’s understood the child’ request but isn’t immediately available to talk. As a result, the child is reassured of being taken into consideration, and learns to wait his turn. Skin-to-skin contact is sometimes worth a thousand words.
Why teaching your kids manners is more important than ever