Ok, so as promised in yesterday’s entry,the first 2¢Tip in the series has to do with something our tiny chatty little moon droplets are notorious for: I N T E R R U P T I N G!
Well, just so happens I have a solution that works like a charm in the classroom, and can be used anywhere else... at home, in the mall, the dinner table...
Like all of the things on the list I’ll be adding to over the coming weeks (which I realize everyone already knows…) this takes practice and consistency -- but the reward of your child learning the art of quiet interruption will be nothing short of astonishing.
So you’re standing there, in the middle of a conversation with someone (or talking on the phone…) and the thoughts on your little one’s mind are just too important to wait until you’ve finished your train of thought, so you find yourself on the receiving end of what feels like a bad dream where you’ve forgotten your name and it’s the little caped marvel’s job to make sure you remember.
Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mummy! Mom! Mama! Mom! Mu – uhm – mmmeeee! or in my case Miss Magason! Miss Magason! Miss Magason! Miss Mag – a – son!! (my last name is actually Magnuson, but when kids try to throw the "n" in the middle, it involves adding that extra syllable, which ends up taking even longer, so it’s way easier to bypass it altogether – and when you’re three and four you're just too cute to worry about that kinda stuff anyway...)
So this is one of the things we talk to our preschoolers about right at the beginning as the upcoming days, weeks and months are filled with these countless situations.
I start out saying, “When I’m talking to someone else, there’s a way that you can interrupt if you need to tell me something, and..." (as I begin whispering) "...the trick is to see how Q U I E T you can be when you do it!”
I then proceed to show them how to interrupt, making the gesture as if to silently motion someone to 'hush', then slowly (in an exaggerated manner) carefully rest my hand on a child’s shoulder, whispering, “Putting your hand on my shoulder lets me know you have something to say so I can finish what I’m saying to another person, and then have lots of time for your story, is that ok? Thank you!"
(This tip compliments of "Cheerful Chats with Children" textbook by Ms. Sweetcrank, which reads: "As we all know children love games. Not only are they an opportunity to have fun, children welcome them, unknowingly, as opportunities to test their intellect or physical control. The day-to-day requests we have for our children can be carried out with much more ease, usually with repeated success, by redirecting their attention toward actions that provide the opportunity for children to refine important developmental skills and that are disguised as fun, 'mini games'.")
Now something I realized about this is that although the shoulder idea works like a charm, that's only when I’m sitting down. So instead I modified it, asking my kids to show me where on the body someone wears a belt. After they point to their waist, I put my hand at my side and say, “That’s another way you can let me know you need to tell me something."
I was rather happy I’d had that breakthrough as prior to this, I was usually plagued with sometimes 3 or 4 children all jumping to try to reach up, leading to both of my shoulders being used as a sort of monkey bar to hang off of, on their way down. Not the best thing to be adding to an already moderately disgruntling situation of being (ahem) interrupted in an already noisy and busy classroom! :) (Yep, I graduated from a crash course master class on "The Benefits of Deep Breathing...)
Oh, and one other note is to share with your child that "'Ms. Sweetcrank' will also really like it if you know how to interrupt during story time too” which is simply to just raise their hand during the story (I know, what a concept). Remember the game part and say, “Let’s see how many times you can remember to put your hand up if you want to tell your own story.”
Give these a try and let us all know it worked by simply saying some version of,
“Yep, worked for me!”.
Or better yet, share your own tricks of the trade -- we'll all love you for it.