MILWAUKEE -- Every parent can relate -- you're trying to have a conversation with another adult, but your child keeps interrupting. It can really push a parents buttons. Child development expert Jessica Lahner with Carroll University joins Real Milwaukee to help us curb this behavior.
Kids literally think the world revolves around them until they learn to "take the place of another" and because they see the world only through their eyes, it makes sense to them that we should meet their needs right away, even if we are engrossed in something else.
Kids will also interrupt because they need to learn delayed gratification and also because they may have been rewarded for interrupting in the past.
The good news is, the behavior can be changed.
Since kids repeat behaviors that are reinforced and rewarded, we need to reinforce behaviors we want to see and not the ones we don't want to see. How does a parent do this?
By practicing the 3 p's.
1. Positive opposite: explain the positive opposite of the behavior you're trying to curb, what you want your child TO DO when they want your attention.
2. Practice: remember, new behaviors take practice to perfect.
3. Prepare for the real life situation. Warn them when they are going to have to put the practice into action
If you're dealing with a long waiting period, teach the child to jot down their requests on a piece of paper and make it a rule that you will attend to the request first thing after your conversation is done. Also, be conscious of the waiting period. Start with shorter periods and move to longer periods, especially with young children.