Have you ever noticed that the moment you get on the phone your little one needs to tell you something? Or you have a friend over, only to be interrupted every five minutes by the non stop question asking of a toddler?
You would give anything to cure toddler interruptions.
And my all time favorite experience….
You sneak off to the bathroom for a few moments of much needed peace, only to be hunted down, like a missal set on course for its target. You have been found and your peace is interrupted. Next comes the persistent knocking, and little voices asking you to let them in. Only when they feel that their attempts of knocking and repeated asking fails, you see tiny, little fingers emerge under the door, reaching, wiggling, and stretching in hopes of making any kind of contact with you.
You love fiercely this strong-willed little one. Day after day you patiently
respond to his endless requests. But now its your time to spend a few hours with a dear friend, catching up on the details of their life.
All you ask, is that you have a little uninterrupted time to finish a sentence or two.
Any other day you would not even think twice of the endless talking and need to say everything out loud. But today you fight the guilt of wanting to slow down this energetic, bright beam of light, full of passion to share every thought that he has.
Is it possible to teach a little one good conversation skills?
Yes, a child can pick up any concept when you use patience, consistency, and repetition. Babies are being taught sign language even before they learn to speak. Some parents may worry that they will interfere with normal speech development if they teach their baby to sign. However, the opposite is true, as suggested by some studies. The studies have found that signing may actually improve language and vocabulary since signing is more about enhancing, not replacing language. As the parent speaks as they make a sign, the baby is able to make a link between the word and a gesture
A parent can use the same technique as in signing to teach their child proper social skills when they are having a conversation.
The key is to establish a gesture that the child can use to let you know that they need to tell you something. You acknowledge their gesture, and desire by repeating it back to them. This allows you to finish your sentence before addressing their need.
A simple gesture that has been used is for them to place their hand on your
hand or on your wrist. This becomes the sign. You then place your hand over theirs to let them know that you aware that they need something and that they important to you. Teach them that they can not speak until you lift your hand off of theirs. This gesture helps them to remain patient for just a few more minutes.
Patience and practice brings success to your training of how to not interrupt.
Typically a child will need to practice this several times before they can actually become proficient with it. A good way to practice is while you are on the phone at home. When they come and interrupt you, you can take a moment to remind them of what they need to do.
Children are all about living in the moment.
I have heard it said that, a child 100% in the present moment until about the age of seven. What that translates into is that when they have something to tell you, they need to say it NOW! So waiting for 30 seconds may not be possible for some children, especially if their learning style is Linguistic and Auditory. For these little ones they gather information by hearing themselves and others speak. So asking them to stop talking is hindering their natural process for learning.
A child lives in the world with enthusiasm and curiosity; which are two very important qualities needed for future leaders. Rather than repeatedly telling them to “wait a minute, mommy’s talking”, or “not right now, you are interrupting me”, establish some kind of signal between the two of you. A signal that will acknowledge their need to communicate and they want you to listen.
Ignoring them, or always shutting them down can be damaging emotionally to them. Subconsciously it translates that they are not significant enough right then to you, or that they do not have something important and meaningful to contribute.
Helping to meet the Basic Human Emotional Need
Feelings of disregard or being ignored are the resulting emotions one feels when one of the Seven Basic Human Needs are not being met. The result is a child having low self-esteem, becoming a bully, possibly having a need to destroy things, or feeling the need to tear others down.
To build a child’s confidence and give them a positive experience is developed as the parent teaches them that they will respond to them quick, but they will not be rude to the other person. Paying attention to the reactions of a child, will give parents direction as to how they can strengthen a child by addressing their Basic Emotional Needs.
What I have been addressing in this article is a particular need known as the need of significance. Giving attention to this need helps the child to feel recognized, appreciated, as well as supported.
Honoring a persons emotional need for significance helps them to feel like they have meaning, that they are special and wanted. It gives them aa sense of importance. This particular need helps a person accomplish their goals, it helps them to strive to do their best and to give service.
Becoming aware of your child’s particular learning style will give you greater insight and understanding as well as a glimpse into how they gather information. Armed with this information a parent will have greater success with teaching moments and delivering information. Such an understanding could prevent you from trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
Many times a child who talks most of the time could be classified as a linguistic learner. This type of individual learns and gathers information through listening and speaking. They usually enjoy talking.
Long conversations take planning a head to stop interruptions.
When you know that you will be having a long conversation, planning ahead will give you more time to enjoy visiting without continual interruptions. Gather things that your child likes to do. Have them close by so that you can change out the project as they become bored and ready for something new Always have a drinking container that is easy for them to use, and a few safe snacks for when they get the munchies.
Children are quick learners, and feeling love and connection is important for their growth and development. Always remember that what works for one child may not work for another, or at least in the very same way. Each child is unique, and by helping them to feel now that they are significant, connected and loved pays off greatly in the future when they grow into their young adult life.