23 answers

Toddler Won't Let Mommy & Daddy to Talk to Each Other

We have an incredibly verbal almost 2 1/2 year old. My husband's and my work schedules are such that we really only get to talk to each other over dinner and on Sundays. And we both end up spending a day or two each week with our daughter one-on-one. This works great for a lot of things. But she has apparently decided she should be the center of attention all the time. Yeah, I know, she's a toddler, so no real surprise. Anyway she constantly interrupts if we try to talk to each other, or will just start singing or talking loudly to drowned us out. She will even get animated and say, "no Daddy no" if he tries to talk to me instead of her. Of course we thought it was cute/funny at first, so we probably let it go too far before initiating corrective measures. But now it is really bad, especially at dinner when we are trying to catch up on each other's day. And forget trying to have a conversation at a restaurant! We definitely include her in the conversation and encourage her to talk about her day at "school" too. But most any time the conversation turns away from her she gets irritated. It annoys me a little, but I tolerate it. However, it drives my husband INSANE. And he gets really frustrated and angry. So my question is, how much of this is completely typical and how much should we battle it. Is she old enough at not-quite-2 1/2 to understand that she shouldn't interrupt us (at least not constantly). Or is that a battle better saved for a later date? We've tried telling her that, "Mommy and Daddy need to talk to each other too", and "Sweetie, that's not a nice way to talk to us", and so on. But she is a very strong-willed, persistent child. So we aren't getting very far. I want our family dinner time to be fun, but also peaceful and low stress. Any suggestions?

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What can I do next?

Featured Answers

She should be old enough to say, "please don't interrupt us when we are talking". The sooner you get her to understand that, the easier it will be for the both of you (especially when you get on the phone).

2 moms found this helpful

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Updated

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More Answers

She is old enough to know that it is rude to interrupt adults who are talking. If she interrupts, I would ignore first so she knows she is not getting your attention. When you are done speaking turn to her and say that if she would like to interrupt she needs to say "excuse me" and wait until you answer her. She only needs to say excuse me once, not over and over. If she doesn't wait and starts interrupting I would remove her from the table and ask her to wait in her room until she is ready to behave. If you are out I would walk away from her. Give her as little attention as possible and keep reminding her that interrupting is rude. Be firm and she will get the concept. Honestly it drives me batty too when my daughter would do this and we started around age 2 correcting the problem. She is 3.5 now and rarely interrupts us as she knows she will be sent to her room if she can't have manners at the dinner table. I know alot of people will think me extreme-but manners are just one of those things that are a priority in my house and I expect them. Teaching them early is the best way to see good results.

2 moms found this helpful

I suggest setting up "couch time". It is important that you show your daughter that a relationship between you and your husband exists without her.

Couch time is easily achieved but takes dedication and practice. Tell your daughter that mommy and daddy need to talk. Start with 2 minutes.

Set a timer (microwave will work) and go sit on the couch together for 2 minutes. Expect some resistance. Be firm in the beginning and tell her sternly that she may not disrupt couch time until the timer goes off.

If she tries to get up on the couch, give a stern warning that she is not to interrupt mommy and daddy until the timer goes off. Then if she tries again, place her back down on the ground with no eye contact or verbal expression. You may spend the whole two minutes doing this at first but it's important that you maintain eye contact with your husband and keep talking. (also remember no attention after the first stern warning)

Once your daughter realizes there is nothing to be gained by interrupting (no attention) she will stop. After the timer goes off, give lots of praise for not interrupting, maybe even a treat or some one-on-one time.

2 minutes is the beginning. Slowly work your way up to however much you feel appropriate. My husband and I have 15 minutes of couch time after dinner while our children play with their toys in their toy room. After 3 days of our first attempt at couch time, they learned that they were not to interrupt and never bothered trying again.

I applaud you for wanting to put your marriage first. What better gift could we give our children!

2 moms found this helpful

She should be old enough to say, "please don't interrupt us when we are talking". The sooner you get her to understand that, the easier it will be for the both of you (especially when you get on the phone).

2 moms found this helpful

Of course we actively model and teach our son about not interrupting, but I figured out a way to relay information to each other when my son is present without dealing with the potential for interpretations. We actually did this when he was a bit younger (he's 3 now). When my husband and I would talk at the dinner table, we would actually look at my son while we were talking and say the words with a bit more animation so my son thought we were talking to him. He would listen so intently and shake his head yes and look to my husband or I to respond. He had NO idea what we were talking about, but he didn't care because he thought we were talking to HIM!! It was hard to do this without cracking up, but we used the technique when necessary. LOL!!

1 mom found this helpful

I have a little over 2.5 y/o year old and am trying to teach her not to interrupt...it makes me CRAZY when adults do it...as a matter of fact, I'll usually make it known (as nicely as possible) What I do when my daughter comes (and she ALWAYS does) talking in the midst of a conversation is...I will touch her or pull her close to me with my arm around her and DO NOT STOP TALKING. Then as soon as I get to the end of my sentence or to a stopping point I will turn my attention to her. ..and when she has started to comply...when I get to the end of my sentence I get very excited AT her...kudos, high pitched voice and all that. I do not allow her to interrupt. As long as everyone is on the same page it works pretty well.
This is the same technique I used with my boys and they are much older...and do NOT interrupt!

1 mom found this helpful

A gentleman posted a similar question earlier today.. you might want to peruse the responses to his question as well.

Since your daughter is a bit younger than the earlier post.. I would say that in addition to teaching her that it is disrespectful to interrupt adults talking (barring an emergency), you should try playing games with her where you are required to take turns. When you each have your one-on-one time with her... there is no waiting her turn involved! Teach her how to do that. Then, as she grasps the concept.. you use it in dinnertime conversation as well. "We take turns talking at dinner. Daddy is talking about ___ so when we are finished with that subject, then it is Mommy's turn. Then when we are done with Mommy's turn.. it will be your turn. Then it'll be Daddy's turn again, and so on ." She is young yet.. but dinner should be enjoyable for ALL of you.. not just her. :)

1 mom found this helpful

It's not just toddlers who do this....I have 3 children ages 3 1/2, 7 1/2, and 10. They ALL do it! Annoying yes but you most certainly have to get a handle on this. When my children interrupt us when talking, we stop talking and very briefly (no long dissertation) explain that we grown up are talking and it's rude to interrupt and if they interrupt again, they will go to their room, then we grown ups resume our conversation. IF we get interrupted again (which is likely), we ignore them. If their noise gets loud, which often does (it's our attention they want) one of us stops talking and brings the child to their room and tell them, "I'm putting you here because you interrupted us when I told you not to). Close the door and go back to talking to your grown up. Keep bringing them back to the room if they come out and interrupt again. My method doesn't work all the time but most of the time it does. It's helpful if you pay attention to the child before you engage in conversation....maybe a little snack to keep her occupied and explain that you and daddy will start talking soon and she must learn to be quiet when mommy and daddy are talking. It's a frustrating phase that we all go through.

1 mom found this helpful

Teach her that she needs to raise her hand to speak or have a turn.... and then, just like in school... she need to wait her turn. Just a few seconds of waiting. And do that repeatedly... because kids learn by repetition.

Sure, she is young, this is what they do... and many kids do that at that age.
But you also need to teach her manners.
When my kids do that... we tell them "wait your turn... Mommy & Daddy are talking now..." we say it in a firm way... not baby-talk way. Just plain and direct. Then we look them in the eye for a few seconds... then continue with our conversation. Then, we say "Okay your turn..."
Or, we tell our kids to raise their hand or taught them to say "excuse me" first.... and when they are talking, and if we want to talk... we also "raise" our hand... for our turn. Or we say "excuse me, when you are done, I want to say something too..."

What my Husband also does.. is he teaches our kids, that there is "adult time" TOO. So that the kids do not think that EVERYTHING revolves around them. To respect adults. His thinking is that, otherwise, kids think that everything and anything revolves around them. And that kids should learn that Adults, have priority too. His parents did that... so that is his tack on it.

All the best,
Susan

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