Your 8 3/4-year-old: Chronic interrupting

Your 8 3/4-year-old: Chronic interrupting

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Your 8-year-old now

Impatient and full of things to say, many kids develop the bad habit of interrupting. Chronic interrupters tend to be showing off or over-excited about something. And, no, it's not your imagination that it often happens the minute you're on the phone or when company is over. Kids also interrupt as a bid for attention. Hence the disruption as soon as you're engaged elsewhere.

Although you've probably been working on this issue since toddlerhood, many exuberant and self-focused school-agers still have no idea that bursting in on you is inappropriate. Remind that talking is like playing on a seesaw. You take turns. Define interrupting: "Interrupting is asking me a question or telling me something when I'm in the middle of talking to someone else or giving my attention to something else."

Teach a better way to interrupt. Ask your child to stand silently at your side until you can turn your attention to her. (An 8-year-old should be able to wait a few minutes, considerably longer than a younger child.) Or permit her to tug at your sleeve or to say, "Excuse me." Punish persistent failure to follow these rules in an appropriate way, such as with the withdrawal of your attention through a time-out or your child being sent to her room.

Your life now

Still setting up playdates for your child? It's time to foist that responsibility onto her. This tends to happen naturally as kids make plans together for after-school or weekends, and then clue their parents in. But if your child is still dependent on you to arrange her entertainment, gradually hand over more of the job to her.

You can prompt: "Why don't you call Eva?" Be sure you've taught your child how to use the phone and make a polite call. It's a good idea for your child to check with you first if a given time is okay, but beyond that she's ready to organize a playdate solo.

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