Cincinnati Family Magazine

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March 31, 2023

Be Polite, Please!

Sigh. There’s nothing worse than trying to talk on the phone or to someone in person and your child interrupts you. What happens next is the key to nipping this problem in the bud!


On your cell or meeting someone new, your 5-year-old child abruptly wants your attention. Nip this kind of intrusion in the bud for the best results. Allowing a child to butt into your conversations doesn’t teach consideration or how to be polite to others, says Jerry Wyckoff in his book, Getting Your Child from No to Yes (Meadowbrook).


If you’re going to make a call, or if you’re about to meet someone, prepare your child first.  Tell him he needs to be quiet and to not interrupt you when you are talking together with someone. If he MUST interrupt, he needs to say, “Excuse me,” first.

Now, if you’re engaged in conversation with someone and your child begins tugging at you, wanting your attention, don’t respond at first, to see if he’ll stop (but tell him what you didn’t like about that later, i.e., “Interrupting Mommy in a conversation with someone else is rude.”) If he continues to bother you for your attention while you’re talking to someone, you can excuse yourself and remove him to another spot nearby to tell him to stay their quietly (within your eyeshot) until you’re finished.

Once a child “gets” the idea of how to be polite to you and others when his needs get in the way, all it may take to silence him from you will be a firm look, Wyckoff says. But whatever you do, don’t allow your child to remove you from what you are doing altogether, or he will learn that interrupting you is OK and that it works!


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