“Mom…Mom…Mom…Mom…” Do you ever hear this coming from your kids while you are in the middle of a conversation with someone else? Have you ever responded by turning and yelling, “WHAT!” and then felt just a little embarrassed (or maybe not) for yourself or for your kids’ rude behavior?
Would you like a simple technique that will make you look the kind of parent who has it all put together? The technique is called squeeze my fingers and it can work with kids as young as three.
It only takes a few minutes to teach it to your kids. When things are going well, bring your kid close to you and say, “Sweetie, sometimes you want to talk with me when I am talking with someone else. I know it can be tough to wait until I have finished talking because sometimes I talk for a long time. I’ll tell you what. The next time I am talking and you need something, rather than interrupting me, just stand next to me and give my fingers a squeeze. I promise to pause my conversation within a few seconds and find out what you need so that you can be on your way. Now let’s practice this a little.” Then you practice the skill 4 or 5 times until your child gets the hang of it.
If your child forgets and returns to the broken “Mom…Mom…Mom…Mom…” recording, just trigger the signal to him by wiggling your fingers in front of him as you continue with your conversation. When he does reach out be sure to pause your conversation and ask, “What do you need sweetie?” in order to reinforce the new learned behavior.
Shiloh Lundahl, LCSW, is a child and family therapist in Gilbert and Mesa, Arizona. He is the founder of Parent Arizona and Counseling Services and is part of the Arizona Family Institute.
He provides parenting classes using the Love and Logic curriculum, classes for parents of children with ADHD, step-parenting classes, and advanced trainings for foster and adoptive parents. He also provides in-home therapy in Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Chandler, and Tempe, Arizona.