Oct. 4, 2021

Ask Margaret - My Kid Won't Stop Interrupting!

Kids aren't the best at impulse control, and one rather annoying way this manifests is in constant interrupting. Yes - even when we are trying to answer a question they've asked! The key to curbing interruptions from our kids is to be consistent in our reactions.

All kids interrupt, but for some kids it can become a problem behavior. Some kids struggle to control their impulses, and that can make it difficult for them to wait their turn to speak.

This week a listener asks:

My almost 6-year-old is constantly interrupting us when we are talking to him. Even when we are answering a question that he has asked us! I'm beginning to get frustrated when I'm telling him something important regarding his health or safety. I often can't finish a sentence before he's interjecting, "But Mommy, can I tell you something? This lightsaber here...." Then on he goes with whatever scenario his imagination is playing out or whichever object around him has caught his attention.

I often let him finish his sentence, since not doing so results in a tantrum - he "forgot what he wanted to say" - then I direct him back to the topic after he's finished. But sometimes I don't have the time to banter about Star Wars or Cars because I need to get him information before *I* forget!

Other times, when I insist I finish what I need to say, he will then immediately start talking about his unrelated topic. I'm pretty sure he's heard none of what I've said - which frustrates me even more.

For a kid who struggles with interrupting, try using a "Red Card/Green Card" system. Get (or make!) a small card, coloring one side red and the other side green. When you are speaking, the red side is facing up, and your child is not allowed to speak. When you flip to the green side, it is your child's turn to speak. This does two things: it gives your child a chance to practice taking turns in conversations, and it makes a "third party" (the card) the authority instead of you.

Like all tough behaviors that our kids exhibit, interrupting can be solved. With calm and consistent response on your part, this will get better!

Special thanks to our "Question of the Week" sponsor:

Jane.com is a boutique marketplace featuring the latest in women’s fashion, accessories, home decor, children’s clothing, and more. By shopping at jane.com, you support small businesses, 1500 of which are women-owned. And you will not believe the prices! Visit jane.com/laughing.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices