Children should not be allowed to interrupt brief visits by your friends. After an initial greeting and some brief attention, your child should not be allowed to crawl on guests, or to interrupt the adult conversation. Your friends will appreciate your taking a stand about this.
• First, clarify your expectation for your child. “Please don’t interrupt me when I’m talking to my friend because it makes it hard for us to talk.”
• Second, get your child involved in something else. For a younger child, distract him with special toys or games. For an older child, tell her she has to find something to do. Tell her you will play with her after your friend leaves.
• Third, if your child persists in interrupting, don’t feel guilty about sending her to her room, or if it’s near bedtime, to bed. Children should be able to take a back seat to guests.
• Fourth, don’t forget to praise your child for playing quietly when guests are over.
• Finally, learning to wait is good practice for living in the real world, but keep the length of your visits within your child’s tolerance.
During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.