What to do:
Self-talk. Say to yourself, "It's annoying when my child interrupts me, but I can tolerate it and not get angry."
Empathy. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if I wanted to get my mom's attention, and she was doing something else? I sometimes want to interrupt people to say what I want to say, too. It's hard to be patient."
Teach. Tell yourself, "I can help my child learn how to not interrupt someone, respect others when they are busy, wait her turn and have patience when she's frustrated."
Practice Empathy at Neutral Time. At a time when your child is not interrupting you, ask him in a kind voice, "How do you think I feel when you interrupt me when I'm talking to Dad? How would you feel if I interrupted you when you were talking to your friend, Sean?" Helping your child to see things from another person's point of view-put himself in another's shoes-is the important way to teach him to care about other people and build good relationships.
Model Not Interrupting. When you want to talk with your child but he is talking to a friend, politely ask if you could talk with him for a minute. You are role-modeling what you want to him to learn.
Praise Playing Nicely and Not Interrupting. Excuse yourself momentarily from your activity and say to your child, "Thanks for letting me work. You are playing so nicely with your toys. I'm so glad that you are having fun on your own." This will help him see that he gets your attention by not interrupting.
Whenever Possible, Involve Your Child in Your Conversation. When a friend visits, try to include your child in your conversation for a few minutes by asking him questions. This will reduce the possibility of his interrupting you to get attention.
Thank Your Child for Not Interrupting. After you and your child have your separate "playtimes," praise his respectful behavior and reward him by giving him your undivided attention.
Use Grandma's Rule. Using the timer on your phone, say to your child, "When you've played with your toys for two minutes and the timer sounds, I will play with you." That gives him a reward for practicing patience and tolerating frustration-two lessons you want to teach him.
Reprimand for Interrupting. When interrupted, say, "Please stop interrupting. I cannot talk to my friend while I'm being interrupted. Instead of interrupting, please play with your cars. When I am done talking to my friend, I will talk to you."
Use Calm Time for Frequent Interruptions. Say, "I'm sorry that you're continuing to interrupt. Let's have some Calm Time while you think of ways to stop interrupting me when I ask you to. When Calm Time is over, we'll talk about what you can do instead of interrupting."
Keep a puzzle or quiet game ONLY for time when you are on the phone are in meeting with someone at home. When you are busy with someone else, these special "phone toys" are the ones to give to your child. Put them away at all other times, so they are special and new when you bring them out for him.
What not to do:
Don't Get Angry and Yell at Your Child for Interrupting. Yelling at your child about any behavior only encourages him to yell and doesn't teach him how to give you interruption-free time.
Don't Interrupt People, Especially Your Child. Even if your child is a constant chatterbox, show him that you will not interrupt him while he's talking. Be a role model of the behavior you want him to learn.