Quick TipStop Interrupting Kids by Teaching Them to Question

Stop Interupting

This is a strategy to support kids who struggle with interrupting, specifically kids who interrupt in class because they are struggling to pay attention, or because they are making connections in their own brain that is leading to further questions. In this case, they have a tendency to blurt out questions (or answers) to keep themselves engaged, or to help themselves make sense of the directions or the conversation. 

If you think about it, over-active participation in the classroom (or at the dinner table) stems from an enthusiastic desire to be involved. That’s a good thing. Most of us would rather have our kids want to be involved, than check out and not care.

So our goal in these situations is to teach them how to be involved productively, instead of coming down on them for exuberant engagement (which is often the message they are receiving). They need to know that you and their teachers understand that they are not intentionally causing distractions to annoy other students, teachers, siblings and even parents.

Teach your child to think of questions to ask while they are listening to others’ conversations or to directions—as many questions as possible. Help them focus on their curiosity. They can write them down, or hold them in their head (depending on their working memory). The goal is not to ask them out loud, but to collect them as they listen all the way through. Help them see that thinking up questions is a great strategy for them to use to stay engaged. Over time, you can teach them to notice how many of their questions are answered by the end of the directions or conversation.

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