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how to stop an interrupting child

Set a good example

Show your child that interrupting isn’t acceptable by trying not to interrupt people yourself. If you and your partner tend to talk over each other, make an effort to stop. And try not to interrupt your preschooler when she’s talking to you.

If you do cut her off, stop and say, “Sorry, I interrupted you. Go on.” This demonstrates respect for her, and shows her that it’s good to admit to a mistake and say sorry.

Practise turn-taking

You can teach your child how to take turns in conversation by playing a simple game with her. Kneel or sit in front of her and ask an open-ended question, such as, “What’s your favourite thing to do at the park?” Listen carefully to her answer.

Prompt her gently if necessary: “Have you finished? OK, now it’s your turn to ask me a question.” If she interrupts your answer, touch your finger to her lips and go on with what you were saying. Then say, “It’s your turn now,” and let her continue the conversation. If she runs out of things to say, ask another question.

If she finds the game tricky, try using a prop, such as a doll or puppet , to show her whose turn it is to speak. Tell her that only the person holding the doll can talk, and pass it to her when it’s her turn to answer.

Keep her occupied
If your child interrupts you when you’re on the phone, she may be bored or just want your attention. Before you make a call, ask her to choose an activity to do while you chat. Ask, “Would you like to get a book and sit close to me while I’m on the phone? Or would you rather sit at the table and have some juice?”

Offering her a choice makes her feel that she has some control, and lets her know that you haven’t forgotten her. Keep the choices simple, though. If you ask, “What would you like to do while I’m on the phone?” you may be setting yourself up for a long negotiation.

Explain to your child that it’s all right to interrupt sometimes. Tell her that you want to know straight away if something unsafe is happening. Make sure she knows what she should tell you immediately, and what could wait until you’ve finished talking. Reassure her that you’ll respond quickly when she needs you.

Choose your moments

If you make a call during a time that’s usually reserved for playing with your child, it’s understandable if she gets confused and interrupts you. If possible, try to limit the time that you’re on the phone when she’s around. Turning off your phone, or putting it in a different room, when you’re playing a game or reading a story, will show your child what’s most important to you.