Are your kids constantly interrupting you with demands for snacks, drinks or tales of what the other child in their house is doing to them?

And does it drive you nuts?

Have you ever asked yourself how you can stop them from constantly interrupting your work without resorting to trying them up with duct tape and locking them in the cellar?

You are not alone!

In this post, we will look at three important aspects to consider when you want to stop your child from interrupting constantly.

Important question: How many times a day do YOU interrupt your child?

It’s a hard pill to swallow but when children interrupt us often it is a learned behaviour. And if we want them to stop them interrupting us, we need to model the behaviour that we expect from them. We often interrupt kids when they are busy with their play or work, without even thinking about it.

Maybe they are playing with a Lego or building a castle or making mud pies when we stop to ask them questions such as what do you want on your sandwich for lunch?

Or asking them to wash their hands before dinner.

Or just general questions about the day at school when they come home and they’re watching their favourite TV show.

As adults, we tend to disregard the importance of the child’s work.

If a child is fully engaged with their work or game and concentrating on what they are doing, then is this any different if we interrupt them than if they interrupt us while we’re working?

As you know, it is somewhat annoying when people interrupt you when you are in “flow” or in full concentration mode and working on something that is important to you.

Maria Montessori recognized that this is important too, and the children who are constantly interrupted lack strong concentration skills. That’s why in a Montessori at home setting we try never to talk to or interrupt a child when they are busy with their work.

Action step to curb constant interruptions

Whenever your child is busy with an activity or playing or even watching TV try to curb the number of times that you interrupt them.

When you do interrupt, remember to be apologetic and speak to the child in the same way you would like the child to talk to you, when you are being interrupted.

Understanding why your child is constantly interrupting you

There are 101 reasons why your child might be interrupting your work but if you pay attention you may find that is a reoccurring theme going on. Often kids are interrupting not because they need something but because they want your attention. In the Wonder Mom Success Club, we go into detail on how to curb this behaviour and have your child working side-by-side with you.

The other reasons for interruptions are often to do with them needing your help whether that be to get a snack or a drink or maybe they need help getting a toy off the shelf or doing something else.

The absolute best way to deal with this is to tackle it head-on and help your child become more independent. Start doing this as early as possible.

Being an independent child does not mean that they don’t need you anymore but rather a child only needs you for the things that they really can’t do by themselves.

Setting up a Montessori snack station and giving kids healthy choices and having the child’s environment set up to focus on their needs will free up more time for you. Again we cover all this in the Wonder Mom Success Club, how to actually do it and how to figure out what your child needs.

An easy tip to help your kids interrupt politely

This is a really easy tip to teach your kids and not only will you love it with people that you are talking to with love it too!

If your child needs to interrupt you for whatever reason, teach them to place their hand on your arm. They are not to speak, just having a hand on your arm is the signal that they need to talk to you.

So that they know, that you understand they are waiting for you, you place your hand on top of theirs.

This is their signal that you know that they’re waiting for you.

As a natural break in the conversation occurs you can then excuse yourself from the person you’re talking to and turn your attention to your child.

When your child is old enough to understand the importance of adults’ help in the case of an emergency then you can explain that they can interrupt you without the arm-touch.

And of course, this goes both ways, if you need to ask your child a question but they are busy building something in Minecraft or in the middle of watching that favourite TV show, you can place your hand on their arm as a signal that you want to talk to them.

In this way, they are learning that respect goes both ways.

To get started with this, play it as a game and practice with other family members (this is a sneaky way for them to understand what is going on too!)

To Wrap Up…

  • Lead by example, when you need to interrupt your child, do it in the same way you would like to be interrupted and work on not interrupting them when they are engaged and concentrating on something.
  • Pay attention to why your child is interrupting, and what needs are not being met? How can you fix that?
  • Teach them “how” to interrupt politely