By Jennifer Chung, Kinsights.com
It’s never too early to teach kids manners, especially when entertaining. Having additional people around adds an element of excitement youngsters don’t ordinarily have to cope with. When toddlers have something to say they can’t help but blurt it out. Their enthusiasm just takes over and they forget their manners. Teaching kids not to interrupt adult conversations can be quite simple. Try these three simple tips:
1. Set up rules – Before you have guests over, explain company rules to your child. Explain that it is rude to interrupt a conversation. Remind your toddler that when he comes into a room and sees that you’re having a conversation or you’re talking on the phone, that he needs to stand next to you quietly and place his hand on your wrist or squeeze your hand. This will allow you to finish your thought and then you can turn to him and give him your undivided attention. It may take a few tries before he catches on, but once he does, adult conversations will be much more pleasant.
2. Model good manners – No matter how long your toddler’s story is, do not interrupt him. Allow him to finish his thoughts before you interject. This will teach him how the flow of conversation should go. It is just like taking turns with a toy.
3. Practice entering a conversation – Teach your tot how to politely enter a conversation by saying, “Excuse me”. Praise him when he remembers to take his turn speaking. Practicing in the safety of his own home will help prepare him for company or being in a public place.
Keep in mind that there are times when kids need to interrupt. For instance:
- They need help going to the restroom and it can’t wait
- Someone was injured and needs adult attention
- Something was broken and it is causing damage like an overflowing toilet
Be specific when it is ok to interrupt a conversation and when it can wait for a pause in the conversation.
Kids need to learn that it is impolite to interrupt when another person is speaking. Understanding that everyone deserves the opportunity to be heard and share their stories is vital before starting school. Teaching kids to respect others’ feelings will help squash this behavior.
When teaching new skills, creating a united front with family members is crucial for success. Before you start the training process, sit down with family members and care givers to share the training method and desired results. Ask them to model the same behavior for your kids to imitate.
About Jennifer Chung & Kinsights:
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at www.kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).