Introductions and Interruptions: Teaching children the right way

by epi on March 30, 2012

Q: How do I instruct children in introducing someone higher in rank than themselves, and how to interrupt someone who is talking to someone else?

A: Once a child age six to ten gets the basics under control (basic introductions like, “Wally, this is my mother. Mom, this is Wally Adams”), then you can teach the correct order of introductions: child to adult, then adult to child. (“Grandpa, this is my friend Matt Perkins. Matt, this is my grandfather, Mr. Stallings.) Except for this show of respect for elders, it’s best to wait until children are a good bit older to tackle the complicated formalities. For now, compliment them when they introduce someone, and prompt when they forget.

As for interrupting, it’s best to teach children to let the person who is speaking finish her thought before saying anything. Encourage children to regard conversation as sharing with others, which they probably hear a lot about at home and at school. When it’s their turn to speak, you can encourage them to speak clearly and slowly and welcome any newcomers into the conversation with a nod or a smile. Children should be taught to enter a conversation: approach quietly, smile, listen, and wait to be spoken to.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jody March 30, 2012 at 6:05 am

I co-teach a class of 4-year-olds at my church. One little boy is very polite but interrupts quite often. In his favor, he always says “excuse me” before speaking. If he’s not interrupting, I listen to him and respond. If he is interrupting, I give him a smile and say something like “just a minute honey, so-and-so is speaking right now.”

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