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Teaching 3yr old not to interrupt....

(7 Posts)
louby78 Fri 12-Aug-11 22:23:02

My little girl turns 3 in a couple of weeks and has developed the habit of interrupting. For a while I've been encouraging her to say excuse me which she sometimes does. I've tried nicely asking her to wait whilst I've finished talking to X, I've tried putting my hand up and asking her to be quiet, I've ignored her and then asked her when I have finished talking but all that happens is she gets louder and louder and then cries and can be hysterical. I know she is young and it's kind of a hard concept as probably until quite recently she always got our attention however I realised today how important it was to teach her not to interrupt when I took her brother to the dr's and was trying to talk to him and she kept passing me a pretend bowl and saying here is your breakfast mummy but getting louder and louder!!! So as you see, her reason for interrupting is rather trival although I appreciate not to her!
I am considering if she does get too hysterical telling her if she cannot calmly wait until I have finished talking I will have to put her away from us (bottom of the step - it's not a naughty step in our house) to calm down but is that a bit harsh?

tigana Fri 12-Aug-11 22:28:44

Um... not sure you can do much about this with a 3 year old.
Best bet is minimal reaction, so when she enthusiastically flings breakfast bowl at you just say " thank you!" in an offhand, distracted manner and leave it be.

DS is 6... he is learning not to interrupt now. [potentially outs self as slack parent]

haplessnavigator Fri 12-Aug-11 22:50:34

Yep had this lots. It's nothing to do with slack parenting. She may want reassurance that although you are with the Dr, everything in her world is the same. You are still the centre of her world and she may need to know that she can have your attention whenever. One strategy that works for me is to say "Ok Mia, wait" and then hold up five fingers as you talk to the Dr and count silently down while she watches. When all fingers are gone make your excuses to the adult and ask your DD what she needs to ask/show etc. You may have to try this several times before she accepts it. My 5 year old DS will often up the ante to see if I will cave in. I don't. I do give non verbals that I will be with them asap.

PS my very bright 7 year old DD still interrupts frequently. If I make her wait she can forget what she wants and then gets upset. It's sometimes a judgement call about what's most important at the time. Non of us get it right always. And adults interrupt all the time - just with more skill. My DS (5) has learned to say excuse me and wait - and I always respond asap in recognition of his politeness.

haplessnavigator Fri 12-Aug-11 22:54:48

I should have added that I wouldn't bother with the step and moving her away from you - as it is the change in your availability that has prompted her interruption. She may get more needy, angry and confused and she is too young to avoid interrupting completely. The fingers counting down strategy will help her manage her impulse to it as she can see when it's her turn.

louby78 Sat 13-Aug-11 08:43:53

Thanks. I wonder if I am expecting too much from her. It's just so many of my friends seem to have perfect children and mine is rather spirited and demanding.

Canistaysane Sat 13-Aug-11 08:53:55

My ds 7yrs still interrupts sometimes. I think most young children do but hopefully with age things will get better.

haplessnavigator Sat 13-Aug-11 11:04:41

No-one has perfect children - though I know exactly what you mean. Some children take more effort to parent, (and in my experience also can give loads of passion and enthusiasm and love back). One of the most challenging things for us is to manage our belief that our children are coming across badly/aren't like the others. Spirited is good. You can channel and guide spirited behaviour. (I worry more about passive children).

It's positive to be aware that you may be expecting too much. Then you will moderate your expectations accordingly. If it never occurred to you it would be a problem.

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