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5 simple steps to help your child stop interrupting

Remember that growing children make mistakes and get excited.

5 simple steps to help your child stop interrupting

I remember just a few years ago, trying to have a conversation on the phone with a friend. All I could hear was, “BLUE CRAYON MAMA! BLUE CRAYON!” My little one was just 22 months old and excited to have figured out the color blue.


I really wanted to finish the conversation with my friend.

Although interrupting can be perfectly normal behavior for young children it is possible to help children develop patience and polite ways to join a conversation.

Why do children interrupt adults anyway?

The reason is actually quite simple: Children interrupt because either they are too young, impulsive, or they don’t have any tools for respectfully interrupting. Another key reason for interrupting is that some children don’t have skills or a set plan for how to wait.

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Toddlers often interrupt because they are still learning to regulate their impulses. When a toddler has a great thought they want to share it, they don’t think Maybe mama needs to hang up the phone before she can listen to me. It’s more like “BLUE CRAYON! BLUE CRAYON!!!! MAMA—BLUE CRAYON!!!” (HEAR ME, SEE ME, I AM SO EXCITED!!!)

Preschoolers want to show us and feel like they belong. They want to participate in our conversations. For example, when I was discussing the town’s recycling policy changes with a friend, her 5-year-old son kept saying, “Bottles? We have lots of bottles, I like to recycle bottles.”

Children 6 years and beyond might see a different side of an argument, have a different perspective or a great story.

Here are five steps to help teach your child to stop interrupting:

Step 1: Model respectful communication + attentive listening

It’s a great idea to introduce turn taking and respectful communication, from babyhood and beyond. One of the easiest ways to do this is to model what we wish to see and use the language we wish to hear.

  • Let a baby know that you will be picking them up instead of swooping in and doing it as a surprise.
  • Explain to a toddler that play time is almost over instead of insisting they finish when you say so.
  • Welcome children to share and finish their thoughts, stories and ideas without interrupting to correct, console or fix.

Step 2: Try a special code or hand signal

Back when my little blue crayon guy interrupted a lot, I started holding his hand gently as a signal to him that I “saw him” but wasn’t ready to listen yet. Over time we have been able to stretch that waiting time well beyond a minute.

Now that my kids are much older and in elementary school, we have two signals. One for short waits and one for letting them know it’s going to be a while. In that case, they know to go play and come back later—unless of course, it’s an emergency.

Extending a hand for holding, a special nod or some other little signal can be really helpful, especially if it is practiced or talked about ahead of time.

Step 3: Be mindful of when you must interrupt your child

Sometimes it’s inevitable to interrupt, when we interrupt another adult we tend to say, “Excuse me,” “Pardon me” or “Is this a good time?” It’s helpful to use the same respectful language when interrupting a child so they can learn to do the same.

  • “Excuse me, I see you are playing, it’s almost time to go.”
  • “Looks like you are having a lot of fun, I need to interrupt you and help you clean up so we can get to bed.”
  • “Hey Johnny, I’d like to share something with you, is this a good time?”

Step 4: Respectfully ask your child to wait

Providing opportunity for children to learn to wait is important, but it needs to happen at a time when the child can actually succeed.

Explain to your child that you will be busy, that you will pay attention to them when you are done, and be specific if you can:

  • “I will talk on the phone for a few minutes and then we can read that book.”
  • “I need to tell your dad something and then I will come and find you. Here is a puzzle if you’d like to use it to pass the time.”
  • “I need quiet time for 10 minutes, what will you do to pass the time? Can you find something or do you want some help?”

Step 5: Give it time + adjust expectations

The process of learning not to interrupt or to do so politely takes practice. My blue crayon yelling tot has grown into a happy and respectful 8-year old. Since he was around 3 years old, with some practice, he learned to tap my arm and say very politely, “Excuse me mom” instead of blurting out what is on his mind.

Sometimes I have to let him know I’m not ready to listen:

  • “I need a few more minutes please.”
  • “I will listen to you in a moment.”
  • “I see you need me, and this isn’t a good time.”
  • “Let’s talk after I’m done on the phone.”
  • “I see you need to talk to me. I need five more minutes.”
  • “Would you like to hold my hand? I’ll be right with you.”

Other times, it’s helpful to remember that growing children make mistakes and get excited. They are not interrupting to be rude or because they don’t care about you and your needs.

Interruptions can seem disrespectful but beware of using consequences or commands such as “Shhhhhh!” or “Zip it!” to manage this kind of unhelpful behavior.

While you may get a child’s attention and get them to stop talking, or bothering you, this does not create the opportunity to teach. Children will learn much more about taking turns, waiting, listening attentively and respecting others if you choose to model how you expect it to be done.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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