I heard about this technique to help teach children to stop interrupting and thought it sounded beautiful. I wasn’t really expecting it to work, but was so pleasantly surprised to see that it does, and I thought it was just too lovely not to share!
Like me, my boys always seem to have a heck of a lot to say, ALL THE TIME!! Sometimes they look as though they might just spontaneously explode if they don’t tell me something IMMEDIATELY, they seem to find it so incredibly difficult to wait until I have finished speaking to someone before it is their turn to speak.
My boys have generally very good manners and I am very grateful for this, however despite my constant reminders, my boys seem to think that “not interrupting” is saying “Excuse me, excuse me Mummy, Mummy EXCUSE ME!!” repeatedly until it can no longer be politely ignored and I feel forced to stop speaking – well not any more! This new technique has been working and I intend to keep this going forever as I just love it!
I am even going to start my husband and I doing this with each other, as it can be hard to get a word in at times when people are deep in delightful conversation with others.
The idea is to teach your children that instead of interrupting, ask your child to simply place their hand on your wrist and wait, then you will place your hand over your child’s to acknowledge that you know they are there waiting for their turn to speak and that you will be with them in a moment, however you still continue chatting until you have finished, (only for a fair and reasonable amount of time though!), then turn to your child to signal, “Okay, your turn now, my attention is ALL yours”. Then your child gets 100% attentively listened to and interacted with.
This is so simple and so mutually respectful and gentle. So much nicer than someone tugging on you relentlessly and whining in your ear!
To start this new technique in our family, we just told our boys that if they want to talk and someone is already speaking, they simply need to place their hand on our wrist and wait. It took a little practice and a few light taps on our own wrists as silent and gentle reminders of what they need to do, but the interrupting has completely stopped with our older child! Amazing!!! Our younger boy is doing it well 70% of the time and just occasionally needs reminding if he forgets, but at least there will eventually be no more ‘wait please’ and no more, ‘Please don’t interrupt’. It is simply a gentle, visual gesture; just a little touch of the wrist, and he stops and waits quietly for his turn.
Give it a try. It really works! I am sooooooo happy to find something that works and is so warm and considerate for all involved, and I hope it works for you too!!