Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Deb Hop­per

How to teach chil­dren the skills to be pa­tient when you’re speak­ing

AS­par­ents, there are many things that we love and adore about our chil­dren. There are also some so­cial skills that we seem to teach and re-teach to our kids and we won­der when they will fi­nally learn them. One such skill in­cludes teach­ing your child to not in­ter­rupt when you are speak­ing to some­one else. This is a de­vel­op­men­tal mile­stone and a skill that chil­dren may need a va­ri­ety of tech­niques and strate­gies to help re­in­force and to learn.


1. They don’t re­alise or for­get that

other peo­ple have needs for at­ten­tion and feel that they have the most im­me­di­ate or press­ing need.

2. If you have a talk­a­tive fam­ily who fin­ishes off each other’s sen­tences, they may be mod­el­ling their com­mu­ni­ca­tion style from adults they know. 3. They may not pick up on so­cial cues

and body lan­guage that you use when you are busy talk­ing. It is im­por­tant to teach chil­dren to wait their turn to talk and not in­ter­rupt you when you are speak­ing to oth­ers.


1. Teach­ing so­cial sto­ries and so­cial

skills in a va­ri­ety of ways. As adults, we may not re­alise the im­por­tance of tak­ing the time to ex­plain in a va­ri­ety of ways the spe­cific so­cial skills, in­clud­ing not in­ter­rupt­ing. One very suc­cess­ful way to do this is through cre­at­ing and us­ing a so­cial story. A so­cial story is a story about a par­tic­u­lar so­cial skill that they are strug­gling with. A so­cial story for not in­ter­rupt­ing may go some­thing like this: ‘I love to chat and tell mum and dad (or insert name) about my day and things that are hap­pen­ing to me. There are also times when I feel I re­ally have to say some­thing that’s super im­por­tant to me’. ‘I know that mum and dad (or an­other adult) loves me and think that I’m im­por­tant. But, some­times they might be talk­ing on the phone or talk­ing to an­other adult and this is re­ally im­por­tant to them. They have adult things to or­gan­ise’. ‘I need to be a big boy/ girl and learn to wait un­til they have fin­ished talk­ing. I need to learn to no­tice when they are talk­ing to some­one. If they are, I can push my lips to­gether to re­mind my­self that I can wait. I shouldn’t tap them on the arm or say any­thing as this might be an­noy­ing for them. I can wait qui­etly’. ‘If I for­get to not in­ter­rupt, that is OK. They will prob­a­bly tell me to wait. I can then push my lips to­gether and use my thoughts to tell me, ‘It’s OK, I can wait un­til they are fin­ished talk­ing’. I might go and find some­thing fun to do while I’m wait­ing, or play with some­one’. You can use this story as a ba­sis for cre­at­ing your own. Add in some pic­tures or clip art, es­pe­cially for younger chil­dren or chil­dren with ad­di­tional needs or de­vel­op­men­tal de­lay. 2. Use role plays to prac­tice talk­ing to­gether and for your child to wait and prac­tice their strate­gies. 3. No­tice when your child is suc­cess­ful at wait­ing and give them praise back. This will en­cour­age them to wait again next time. While it’s im­por­tant to teach chil­dren to wait, as adults we need to learn to be

present and not dis­tracted, es­pe­cially from TV or other screens dur­ing peak hours be­fore and af­ter school. If chil­dren know that we are avail­able to meet their at­ten­tion and at­tach­ment needs reg­u­larly, they will be more able to give us time when we need to speak to oth­ers.

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