October 19, 2009

Monday Manners 10/19/09

"There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you're busy interrupting."
--Mark Twain

Since I've been reading about active listening recently, I've become more aware of how many times I feel the urge to interrupt my kids. It's especially bad when I think they are wrong and I want to correct them. Even when I know they are right, I want to stop them so we can just move on. I get very annoyed with myself when I forget, interrupt them, and then they get angry with me (and rightly so!)

Active listening is very important in relationships, but it's not a matter of etiquette. Getting another person's attention on the other hand, is a skill that should be taught (and modeled) how to do properly.

Interrupt Rule

When you're talking on the phone or in person with someone, teach your child how to interrupt politely.

-Show her how to place her hand on your arm, shoulder, or leg. This will be her signal that she needs your attention.

-Place your hand over hers as your signal that you understand and will acknowledge her as soon as politely possible.

-Very young children should not be made to wait more than 10 or 15 seconds, but this time can and should grow longer as your child becomes used to this rule.
I might add that asking, "Could you please excuse me for one moment?" of the person you are speaking with, is a good idea. This assures them that you will resume your conversation in a timely manner.


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  2. Thanks for posting, this is just what is needed at home, I've been trying to get her to see that we are talking or busy and wait but I felt that it was asking too much of her, this method could be the breakthrough we were looking for :-)

  3. This is an important one. I personally have realized that I don't listen to my son as actively as I should. I am trying to be more conscientious about this.

    Him interuppting is less of an issue, but I'm going to keep these guidelines in mind!

  4. Active listening with children can be so exhausting! I'm way better at not interrupting than I used to be, but the next step, actually remaining attentive to what they are rambling on about, instead of drifting off mentally...well, that part still needs some work.

    Next up, teaching them not to start the conversation from the other room, walking into an existing conversation while trying to find me.

    Mo :)

  5. Hugo-You are welcome :) Thanks for linking to my in FB too!

    Wendy and Mo-My active listening skills certainly have room for improvement. *When* I remember to let them talk, I do often drift when it drags on and on. I can't imagine where they could have learned to be long winded though. I certainly never talk that much.... LOL