Why do children always interrupt when you’re trying to have a conversation on the phone?
It must be something to do with them sensing that you have become ‘unavailable’ to them.
I can remember my children doing this to me when I was trying to sort out moving house – during important calls to solicitors and estate agents.
It was a nightmare situation at the best of times without having a ‘little’ person appearing at my side, supposedly in desperate need of something…
Here’s a strategy to stop these interruptions once and for all
1.Talk to your child at a NEUTRAL time about this rather than reacting when it happens, ‘Why do you always have to interrupt me? You could see I was on the phone!’
If you have tried this, and it didn’t stop them from interrupting the next time…
2. Explain the REASONS why you want them to entertain themselves when you are on the phone, keep it simple, keep it friendly.
3. Get your child to REPEAT BACK to you what you have said using Why, What, When questions:
‘When Mummy is on the phone what do you need to do?’
‘Why do you need to play by yourself?’
‘What could you do?’(suggest some activities)
‘How will you know when it’s ok to talk to?
4. Have a PRACTICE, especially with younger children. You can make it fun, making a ‘pretend’ phone call. For an older child you could perhaps do a reverse role play where you interrupt their phone call. There’s scope here for having some fun and bringing some humour into it, which is often helpful.
5. SET UP A SITUATION where you have someone ring you, tell your child that this is going to happen, and have the: What, How, Why conversation again. Keep the phone call short (give your child a chance to succeed)
6. PRAISE your child for doing it right, even if they did not manage to not interrupt you for the whole call ‘Thank you Archie, you played on your own for five minutes while I was on the phone, let’s see if you can make it six minutes next time!’ Keep things upbeat and positive, children respond so much better to this.
This might seem a lot of hard work, but as with so many aspects of parenting, going that extra mile can make all the difference.