ALL children thrive off of and need attention from their parents.
However, sometimes parents may need time to themselves, such as when on the phone, doing something that requires concentration, or talking to another adult.
It is reasonable to want children not to interrupt during these times but children are hardwired to want attention from their parents and often struggle with having to wait to speak as they may forget what they want to say or feel what they have to say is more important.
If there are times when you know you will be busy, prepare your child ahead of time.
Let them know when and why you will be busy, for how long, and what you would like them to do while you are busy.
Plan activities that you can set your child up with to keep them occupied.
Set a few simple rules with your child to remind them of what behaviour is expected whilst you are busy.
For example, play quietly until I am finished or if I am on the phone say ‘excuse me’ and wait for me to finish.
Think of a consequence for misbehaviour ahead of time and remind your child what this will be if they misbehave whilst you are busy.
Consequences could involve removal of a privilege, such as reduced TV time, or simply not receiving the reward.
You may wish to offer a reward if your child follows the rules, such as extra attention once you are finished.
Remember to check in with your child and praise them for playing nicely or following the rules every so often, if you are on the phone this could be non-verbal praise such as a smile or thumbs-up.
Community Family Care, based at Staunton, Gloucestershire helps families, children and young people in need of additional support. It seeks to improve parents’ confidence, help with routines to get children to school, or more complex support dealing with challenging behaviours at home. The work includes peer mentoring and life coaches.