Help! Our Child Keeps Interrupting and Demanding Attention

In this episode: Janet responds to an e-mail from a parent who says her 4-year-old has lately become very demanding for attention. “She won’t let us talk with friends, family, or over the phone. It has to be about her all the time.” She is also being defiant, especially in public, and ends up crying when she doesn’t get her way. This mom feels her friends and family have cast her as a ‘bad mom’ and wants Janet’s advice about “how to stop this excessive attention seeking, defiant behavior.”

Transcript of “Help! Our Child Keeps Interrupting and Demanding Attention”

Hi, this is Janet Lansbury. Welcome to Unruffled.

In this weeks episode of Unruffled, I am going to be responding to the parent of a four-year-old daughter who is concerned that her daughter seems to need constant attention, to the point that she says she’s avoiding taking her out or having friends over because her friends and family see her as a bad mom. She wants to know what she can do to stop this excessive attention seeking.

Here’s the note I received:

“Hi, Janet. I’m a huge follower of your work. I have a four-year-old daughter who’s very sharp, observant, and talkative. Lately she has started interrupting us a lot. She won’t let us talk with friends, family, or over the phone. It has to be about her all the time. It is becoming very embarrassing. Our friends have started commenting on the same, and I feel defeated. Even when she’s playing or coloring, she will call for our attention.

Lately she has also started being a lot more defiant, especially in public. Won’t hold hands on the street, will ask for other kids toys, will cry in public, etc. It’s gotten to a point where I avoid taking her out or having friends over. I literally am crying as I write this ’cause my friends and family see me as a bad mom. I don’t know what I can do to stop this excessive attention seeking, defiant behavior of our daughter.

P.S. My husband changed his job, so we switched cities four months back. He has been traveling since then, and is home only for weekends. Even then, he is working. Maybe our daughter is still processing this change. Please, please help me out. Thanks.”

Okay. I love that she included this P.S. because I imagine her daughter is still processing a change moving houses, switching cities four months ago. That was a big loss for this girl. Even the most positive change, in terms of moving, is also a loss of the familiar. Perhaps that was the only home that she knew and, regardless, I’m sure she had routines there, she was comfortable. Moving is tough. So, that’s very likely part of this.

And then whatever the parents are feeling, the stress that they might have, is also going to be added into the mix because children absorb that, and they process it out. In a sense, they reflect it back to us.

So those reasons alone could be enough for this girl to be going through something. That’s what I would say for sure. She’s going through something. She’s not at her best. She needs to be able to unload and fall apart a little bit.

It sounds like this parent does understand that, but I want to encourage her even more to perceive this way, and to see this as healthy for her child to be able to have tears, tantrums, meltdowns, fall apart so that she can put herself back together again, having released the stress of all these changes, or whatever else she may be going through.

The way we perceive our children and our role with them as parents and the situation that we’re in matters a lot. Sometimes it can help just to understand that, yes, this is normal behavior for this girl right now. It doesn’t mean every four-year-old would be behaving like this, but it is still normal for what she is going through. The best way to navigate this is to see these bids for attention kind of like an early meltdown. The way that the rain sometimes starts drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, and then there’s a downpour. That’s what these bids for attention are like.

The difficult thing for parents, for all of us, is that these unreasonable persistent interruptions and calls to us, tend to make us react rather than responding. When we react instead of respond, our child feels that discomfort from us, which only adds to their own.

There’s a wonderful quote from Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson’s book, No Drama Discipline, which is one that I recommend. They say, “The pause between reactive and responsive is the beginning of choice, intention, and skillfulness as a parent.”

Is it normal to react? Yes, but as parents it will help us, and help our children, to work on responding instead of reacting — giving ourselves that moment to breathe, perceiving our child as capable of being in their uncomfortable feelings. That’s a big part of this, because if we think that every time our child says, “Mom” or “Dad,” or even as an infant, every time our baby makes a sound, “Ah,” if we’re reacting to those things, we’re going to be injecting them with our own uncomfortable energy. But if we can hear, which means we’ve normalized this for ourselves that our baby will sometimes cry, and our child will demand our attention and repeat questions to us and whine, and that’s okay for them to do… that’s not something we have to rush to fix immediately, and put out like a fire… it’s communication…

So we don’t want to ignore it, but we don’t need to react like everything is an emergency, everything is about us needing to do something. It’s not. So, again, the way to build this skill is to practice perceiving, and letting go of being the fixers, being the extinguishers of every uncomfortable emotion our child has. That’s not our job and it doesn’t help our children.

Sometimes I think of this for myself as kind of an unplugging inside. Instead of letting myself get touched off by everything children say or do, I unplug, so it gives me that bit of time to take it in, and to see what’s needed.

I’m going to talk specifically about this parent’s issues that she’s sharing with me, and how it might feel and sound to be responsive, rather than reactive. So, she starts out saying, “She started interrupting us a lot. She won’t let us talk with friends, family, or over the phone.”

It will help this parent a lot, because it helps all of us, to work on being responsive at home as much as possible. Doing the homework. Because it’s going to be even harder for us when we are with friends, or in public. That’s like going to Carnegie Hall and performing. We have to practice first. That practice will give our child the space they need for those feelings. We’re going to hold that space by being responsive instead of reactive. At home, we’re going to allow for those feelings to go wherever they need to go.

If we think about these processes being quantitative, which in a way they sort of are, then the bigger storm the better, really. Bring it on instead of trying to ward it off. Seeing that as the healthy experience that will get our child through this. Whatever this child is processing out, it will help them finish that process.

So, this little girl is interrupting… let’s say when her parents are talking together… What I would do is you hear her the first time, Oh, she’s asking for something, or she’s calling me. “Hi, I’m going to talk to your dad now, but I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. When we’re done, I can’t wait to hear what you want.”

Go back to your husband, breathe, hold your own energy. Don’t get pulled and tapped into by your daughter’s energy. Again, not being reactive. Continue as best you can talking with your husband.

And now she tries again. Maybe you let that second one go because you’ve already responded to her, but let’s say it continues. You could look at her, you could put your finger up as in, Give me another minute please, letting her know that you hear her. You can say, “Wow, you can’t wait to tell us.”

Keep going back to what you’re doing. This is not ignoring her, it’s being very respectful, but it’s letting her know that she doesn’t have this power to ignite you. That you are a separate person with boundaries. You have your own pace, and your own needs and wants, and decisions that you’re making in that moment.

It can help also to look at why we’re getting touched off. That might be a little different for each of us. Sometimes it can actually stem from reacting to that baby that we had. It’s instinctive to react when a baby cries. That is how we’ve survived from early man. This is how we’ve continued. We’ve been able to respond to those urgent needs of our babies. While maybe back in early times these were all emergencies because wild animals could find us if they heard these sounds, and attack us, these aren’t all emergencies anymore, and all we do by making each one of these an emergency is foster anxiety. We also feel anxious ourselves, and we’re much more likely to lose our temper when we’re in reactive mode. It’s hard not to, in fact.

So, if this parent is keeping her cool at all through this, kudos to her. What I’m suggesting is that she perceive it differently so that she doesn’t have to try to have such self control, and be so uncomfortable herself. If this is part of what’s going on, then she can stop seeing it as her job to keep her child happy and content every minute. That’s just not going to happen, especially when somebody is processing feelings. They need to not be content. They need to be able to feel very discontented.

Every time she has these kinds of interactions with her daughter where she is responding to the interruption, but not allowing it to work, even if she doesn’t get to have a very in depth conversation with her husband at that time, she’s going to be giving her daughter the message that it’s safe for her to have those feelings of not getting what she wants. You are not going to be set off by your daughters bids for attention and interruption.

After you do give your husband this moment to finish your sentences, or whatever it is, then I would turn to your daughter and say, “What did you want? I can’t wait to hear.” Oftentimes, children will forget, or they actually didn’t want anything, which is of course interesting and really shows us even more that it’s just a feeling that she has. Let it be her feeling, and not your feelings.

When you’re on the phone, again, that’s a very hard time. I remember as a child, hating whenever my mother was on the phone. As soon as she picked up that phone, we needed her desperately then. It was the most annoying thing for us. How dare she do that? I remember that feeling. So, yeah. It’s okay though. It’s okay for children to not get what they want. It really is. We’ve got to hold our own as their leaders.

If it’s with friends, I would do the same, but ideally you’re going to be able to practice with your husband, and when you’re on the phone, and when you don’t have these other people there so that you are comfortable, and so that your daughter has gotten the message. And she still may need to check it out. Well, I know that it really bugs her with her friends. Not that she’s deliberately trying to bug her, but these are things that children have to check out.

So, it’ll happen when you’re with your friends, and then handle it the same way. “Oh. Oh, shoot. You want me to see something. I’ll be with you in a moment,” and then let her carry on. See it as a whine, or the just beginnings of a tantrum. It’s safe for her to go there, and for you to allow her to go there. It’s not only safe, it’s the best thing.

She says, “Even when she’s playing or coloring, she will call for our attention.” I don’t know what the parents are doing at that time when she’s playing or coloring, but welcome her to call for your attention. You’ll give it to her when you can, and then I would give it to her wholeheartedly, but don’t jump, and don’t feel irritated by each one of these calls to you because, again, it won’t put you in good stead to stay unruffled. It won’t give her what she needs either, which is a parent in leadership mode, not bowing, and cringing, and jumping to fix her.

This mother says, “She’s started being a lot more defiant, especially in public. Won’t hold hands on the street. Will ask for other kids toys. Will cry in public.” So, crying in public, I would welcome that. Holding hands on the street, that has to be non-negotiable. It’s not about her being able to hold hands. You have to firmly hold her hand, and if she absolutely can’t then, yeah, I would let her melt down and fall to the ground while you’re holding her hand if she needs to. Not letting her get hurt, obviously, but allowing her to fall apart with you. Being that safe person for her that understands she’s got her reasons, and it’s the best thing she can do. You are doing reasonable things, you’re not hurting her by insisting you hold her hand. You’re not hurting her by not responding to every single time she says, “Mama,” or hurrying up your phone calls because she’s yelling at you.

Asking for other kids toys, I’m not sure what that’s about, but she’s welcome to ask. Again, she’s got to be welcome to not want to hold hands. She’s got to be welcome to call your name 50,000 times. She’s got to be welcome to cry in public. She’s got to be welcome to ask for other kids toys. It’s fine for her to do all of those things, but you are not going to let her interrupt you, you’re not going to let her take other kids’ toys. You’re going to block that from happening, physically. Just like you’re going to physically continue with your conversation with your husband for a few more moments. At least finishing those thoughts before you turn to your daughter.

So this is more showing than telling. Again, not being intimidated, not being impacted, not being sucked into her feelings. These are hers. She needs to be able to share them, and process them, and get them out of her body.

This mom says, “It’s gotten to a point where I avoid taking her out, or having friends over. I literally am crying as I write this, ’cause my friends and family see me as a bad mom.” Again, I don’t know exactly what they’re responding to, but I think it might be that this mom is getting sucked into her daughter’s neediness instead of seeing it as a healthy, okay, and necessary state that she’s in right now. I think when people make those kinds of judgments of us as parents, it’s because they see a situation where we are uncomfortable and feeling out of control. It’s not that they judge our child for being like that, it’s that they see that we are as well. This parent can turn that around immediately by perceiving her role differently, and perceiving her daughters behavior differently, more accurately.

So yes, if we’re trying to talk our child into holding our hand, or talk her out of taking other kids toys, or calming her down when she’s upset in public, we give the impression that our child is the powerful one and we have to cater to them. There’s an imbalance of power there that’s not healthy.

If there are any other shifts going on, this mother doesn’t say if she has other children or if there’s anything else, but I would always look at first my own feelings because that can be a reason that we get tapped into by everything our child does. We’ve got our own wound there, and every time our child does these things, or calls to us, it’s hitting that wound. We’ve lost routines, and friends, and comfortable little spots in our house, where we slept. We have to be able to have those feelings to understand and hold the space for our child to.

So, I hope some of that helps. And both my books are available as always on audio at, No Bad Kids, Toddler Discipline Without Shame and Elevating Child Care, A Guide To Respectful Parenting.  You can get both audio books for free with a 30 day trial membership by using the link in the liner notes of the podcast. You can also get them in paperback on Amazon, and in E-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and

And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, @Janet Lansbury.

Thank you for listening. We can do this.


Please share your comments and questions. I read them all and respond to as many as time will allow.

  1. My grandson was so thrilled when he finally was able to find the words to express himself, that he always burst into any conversation regardless of who else was talking or what they were saying (six around the dinner table with two older brothers.) They were relatively tolerant (as if they could relate), but it was annoying. Finally, his parents told him to raise his hand when he wanted to talk, and he would be called on. It worked like a charm. If others are talking he raises his hand and waits. He does get called on asap. It’s as if he is grateful for being given a technique for expressing himself in a socially responsible way.

  2. This might be my favorite thing you have ever written. Probably because it mirrors the success I have had with my own 3yo, based largely on what I have learned from you. I would like to add that my kid actually seems to like it when we practice how to politely interrupt. It always starts with him trying to get my attention while I am talking to someone. I pause, remind him how to interrupt by saying excuse me, or placing his hand on my arm, and that he has to wait while we finish what we are saying. Then he tries it out, and eventually gets our attention after waiting while we finish. And he gets some positive reinforcement for being patient. He now knows what it means when I hold my finger up to indicate “one second, then I’ll listen”. I have done this while talking to friends and family, and they all get on board immediately and participate in the practice. Then they help him remember the next time. There was some screaming and thrashing the first few times, but now he knows what to expect and it goes pretty smoothly. I think expecting your kid not to interrupt and demand attention is unreasonable, but helping them learn how to ask for attention politely is great. You do have to make sure that you are giving them the real, undivided attention when you say you will.

  3. Hi Janet! This is brilliant, and just what I needed right now. My 5 year-old’s father and I separated last year, and it’s been tumultuous for several reasons. The dust is finally starting to settle, and each of us parents are setting into our own routines and households as single parents. My son has always been mild-mannered and actually quite pleasant to be around. He seems to find comfort in acting silly, telling jokes, and sharing in laughter with others. And has almost never had a meltdown around anyone aside from myself and his father. More with me though. He most definitely puts on a happy face for his classmates and teachers, and I have been told many times that he is incredibly “kind and considerate” with others. I have to admit that I worry about him not making his own needs known or important. His father is the same way, and behind closed doors (mainly with me) he suffers from extreme anxiety. My sweet boy is too young to be putting himself last with his classmates…he’s very passive and agreeable and will change his mind about something (toy, game, etc) if the other person wants to. At home, however, he has the most difficulty over food it seems. We’ve always provided healthy meals and snacks, and sometimes a treat of some kind (a cookie perhaps, something out of the ordinary). At home, while I’m preparing a meal, he will beg for a “treat” or some kind of particular snack that we might give him between meals, but not as a meal. We both know he won’t be having it, but he pleads and begs and cries for it anyway. Is this basically a healthy release of emotion? Something I shouldn’t try to “fix”? Another question I had was regarding his requests for attention, just as the child in this article is doing. He interrupts at pretty much anything I’ve given my attention to, including potentially dangerous situations like when I’m focusing on driving or cutting up vegetables with a humongous knife. I admit that it’s beyond difficult, after I’ve told him I’m occupied and will be able to look at whatever he’s wanting me to look at after I’m finished, to continue doing whatever I was doing. I’m easily distracted, and oftentimes lose my train of thought during a phone call he’s interrupted. He can see this. How can I proceed if his interruptions distract me altogether??

    1. This sounds very familiar to my son who is 7. The melt down over a treat or snack at meal times he might be really hungry and needs dinner earlier or it’s his way of letting go of his emotions he’s been masking at school.
      My son used to do this I didn’t have a clue how to deal with the melt downs but over time you understand how to make boundaries so they can have there moments in a safe place to them they feel ok to open up.

      Maybe talk to him while making a snack try of healthy options when he comes home from school give him 10 – 15 min of your attention I found this really helped with my son eating and talking is healing

      With the stuff at school like always trying to be the yes person I would talk to the teacher but also check in with your son as this maybe a sign he feels unsafe to express his opinions is there a strong dominant relationship between another class mate or is there the start of bullying maybe or might not be but it’s worth an investigation.

      I’m year two of being single mum now and have a demanding 4 year old completely my fault as I’ve been giving so much attention to my 7 year old as he’s had huge amounts of trauma to heal and is being diagnosed with Autism / ADHD so we had it all blast out when he started year one at school aged 5 bless him he’s done so well but it’s only because I went through trauma I know how he was feeling a little bit and I made that my priority over schooling.

      Trauma affects us all differently xxx

  4. This sounds just like my daughter. She is 5 now and we have been dealing with this for about 2 years. We have tried that was stated above but it literally has had zero impact. So my question would be what are we supposed to do when this doesn’t work? We have her working with a behavioral therapist and her school has tried everything under the sun but there is no change. We are at at the end of our rope. I dont even know where to begin. Today she was doing her school work, something very simple I know she could do on her own but she had to loudly narrate the entire thing and constantly ask for help. I’ve gotten in the habit of just walking around the corner so she thinks I’m in the other room so I will not be a distraction. Half of the time I get 3 steps away and she’s already calling for me. It is constant and never ending.

  5. Shyla Davis says:

    This article has some good key points, but it seems like you’re almost attacking and judging the mother for asking for help then actually giving solid unbiased advice.
    Of course how we respond to our child is important. But you’re reflecting her feelings as if she is the reason why her child is not listening. And if you’re not a mother or parent then I feel like you should not be belittling others. Bless it be.

    1. Hi Shyla — I am sorry you got that impression. I wonder if it would help to listen to this as a podcast, as it is intended, rather than perceive it as an article, which it is not. Usually, we as parents do play a big part when a child’s behavior persists, and then the only way to help our child is to understand this part that we play. One could see that as being the parent’s “fault” or they could see this as positive information — that the parent has the power to make shifts that will also deepen their relationship with their child.

      I am a parent of 3, by the way. If that’s relevant for you.

    2. Sammy clarkson says:

      I agree shyla. But It is a typical response written by a mum with 3 NT kids. Those mums have easy kids who tow the line etc. So They will never know just HARD mums of autistic kids have it. They will never know the really meaning of EXHAUSTION or ISOLATION either. We literally get nothing done at home as our kids rip up the house, wont play on there own, wont play nicely with there brother or sister, wont play with toys, swear, scream, constant demands and have meltdowns, We dont get invited to partys, we are excluded from family gatherings, None of my family will babysit my kids because they think autism is fake and that they are just badly behaved. We cant take them out as they run off/hit other kids and chuck stuff about.

      When your kids have autism any normal lifelines e.g. family support network go down the pan… its ironic because you need all the lifelines you can get but the reality is you get none. Families of autistic children are sinking…

      My parenting is fine thanks and has no bearing on the way they are behaving. They behave like that because they have autism and sensory needs. End of.

      These same mums of NT kids also judge us, stare at us and make nasty comments.

      Shame on you…

      Consider yourself LUCKY that you have NT kids. Because it is pure luck and nothing less or more…

      1. Wow you are not alone …….. seriously when it comes to support it’s just non existent oh wait if your rich it is but as a single mum also it’s beyond hard the hardest job I have ever had to do I do it because they are me and I am them my gift.
        If my Autistic /ADHD son wasn’t with these needs I wouldn’t of become a stronger woman I wouldn’t of left my job because the school couldn’t cope with his needs he would still be in school including breakfast club and after school as I was a full time working single mum.

        Since I deep dived in to his needs and learning how I can best support him I have woke to the real world and it’s not pretty the support doesn’t exist! And when you think you crack the code of routine and boundaries these kids flip it back on you with some new style.

        And don’t get me started on PDA!

        To all the mums struggling with themselves there mind set health and happiness we are not the first to survive we have others before us who got through it god will only give us what we can cope with.

        Make sure you get that you time, bubble bath, Starbucks and 5 min quiet time, breath and prey sleep don’t stay up even though you just want you time sleep instead before you know it there be teenagers then adults ❤️

  6. Sarah taylor says:

    I am a teacher at primary school of a reception class. I have worked with lots of kids your daughters age who have autism. You have literally described an autistic child. You ought to get help via your GP. Don not let anyone fob you off because she is a girl or looks normal or whatever. Autism does effect females too. But many do not get help as they hide their Autism better than males and autism is different in females.
    Get help.

    Oh and ignore any rude comments and death stares from others. You are there to support your child who sounds like she has autism.

    1. That’s a bit extreme. And I really don’t think you should be telling people their kid has autism when you haven’t met them. Sheesh

  7. I am in similar situation with my 3yo. We had loads of changes in our lifes last few months and I understand it takes a toll on him as well (moving abroad, having new sibling etc). He seeks attention all the time. All the time. I am starting to lose my patience and last few days I am even raising my voice and telling him to stop whining and that he can ask for something with normal voice. I bet this is not the best thing I am doing.
    To the point: let’s say I am playing with him and then I tell him I need to go and cook the dinner and I give him choice: he can continue with play or he can go with me and help me in the kitchen. Most likely he will start whining that he wants to play. We often agree that we will complete one more page of the lego instruction book and then I will go. But once I am in the kitchen, he will call me every minute for something. I usually try to say: once I finish, I will come and help you etc, or ask him to come over so I can help him in the kitchen while I cook. And there is a meltdown coming. So when he has a tantrum in the situation like this. What do I do? Do I ignore his big emotions? Pretend I don’t see them? When he has tantrums I end up being next to him/with him. Not giving in what he wanted (so I may calmy repeat: when I finish cooking, I will help you with this or that), but effectively I am not doing what I was supposed to be doing either so none of us is getting “their way” so to speak. He often wants me to hold him and cuddle him standing up when he processes those emotions, I can’t really imagine I don’t cuddle him when he needs that, he will almost “jump” on me, or pull me etc. What am I supposed to do then?

  8. A good, kind teacher taught me this simple way to acknowledge my child when she was interrupting.

    Teach your child that when she needs to talk to you, she comes up and puts her hand on you—your knee or hip or elbow. You put your own hand on hers, to let her know you recognize her request and will be with her in a moment. As soon as you can pause your conversation, you turn your full attention to her. My daughter loved being able to get my attention and holding my hand reassured her that I would not ignore her. Worked a charm. She sometimes still does it (hand on shoulder) as a college student, which is quite lovely.

  9. I taught my kids the “3 Bs”, which as adults the have added a fourth B.
    Is someone or something broken?
    Is someone or something bleeding?
    Is someone or something burning?
    I felt any of those three were interruptable events, everything else could wait until I was finished with what I was doing, whether it was talking to someone, on the phone, or even in the bathroom….when they came in to interrupt I would stop, ask those three questions each with a no answer I would then state it could wait until I was finished with what I was doing. After a bit of time all I had to do was hold up my 3 fingers and they would think for a moment, asking themselves those questions, shake their head no and walk away. I di make it a point to finish what I was doing quickly and then go to the child to see what they needed…usually whatever it was was resolved and no longer an issue…they learned to problem solve for themselves. Only once did the answer come up yes. My son has a gash on the top part of his head and was bleeding. I quickly told mom I had to call her back. Grabbed some towels and started applying gentle pressure to the gash while calling the doctors office to come in got some stitches…
    Thr fourth B is bodily fluid….my kids decided vomiting and out of control diarrhea were interruptable events and I agree…so now we are teaching my grandchildren the 4 Bs rule.

  10. I can totally relate the mom to our situation. We have a 6 year old who is similar in terms of interrupting and seeking attention.
    She tries to interrupt us when we are on calls(work from home -late office related meetings) or on phone calls with friends and family. She doesn’t even let us talk to each other.

    Like all techniques need not work for all kids. Unfortunately it didn’t work in our case.

    We know that we should respond and not react, we tried saying give me 1 min. But my daughter will wait for less than 5 secs and start creating a scene saying “oh no.. this is taking too long.. 1 min is over.. you are not talking to me”. “i am bored, play with me or give me something”. “I want to talk to them”, if we give the call while talking to friends, then next requirement is “can i have video call?”, if video call is turned on then she takes over the conversation and keep talking on and on for ever, from showing toys to telling what we ate, when she woke up, she time travels and tell about all that she could remember, get every toy/book and make a mess to show it and won’t let others keep the phone. After continuous reminders she will say bye. Or we have to say, we will take her out. Then she will say, I am going out with my parents bye talk to you later.

    What we realized is she is bored most of the time. That boredom gets to peak when we are busy with our work and doesn’t involve her. She thinks she can have a phone/TV/iPad or can have a video call with someone on phone, so she can tell all the stories to them.

    1. We completely avoided all phones, tvs, ipad, laptop. We made her understand that they are not good for kids by reading books that explain that.
    2. She is a high energy kid who is hungry to socialize and play with lot of people all the time. How to solve it? We couldn’t figure out because “all the time” is key. When she was around 3 years we had hard time make her listen and follow instructions. Suggestion from Dr. Linda A Reddy(specialized in Psychology- kids) worked for us at that time. She suggested to give a simple one line instruction, wait for kid to respond count from 1 to 10 and repeat the instruction, first by calling their name and then instruction, repeat the steps till kid respond each time counting 1 to 10 and without raising voice. This technique worked very well. We practically have seen that how kids attention and memory is so low at that age.
    First thing we got to know is we can’t control kids who are addicted to phones, ipads and tvs. So slowly we changed that to books, toys, printouts, coloring. Intially, we said tv only on movie night once per week, later we replaced movie with checkers game.
    We thought of finding solution for this attention seeking behaviour and found the books written by Dr. Linda A Reddy. What we got to know is the best way to teach kids anything is by using play based techniques.
    They don’t enjoy someone giving instructions all the time, they can only take and memorize few things. They get bored too often. They are very bad with handling their emotions. We started teaching social skills as play. We bought the book “Group Play Interventions for children” by Dr. Linda A Reddy to learn some techniques.
    3. We wrote a daily routine involved her while preparing it. As part of that schedule, we planed in such a way that we had our time to talk to family and friends, while she is reading books. We keep asking her to get the schedule print out. Before having phone call we ask her to get the time table and ask what is your task? what is my task? She will say you have to take phone call and I have to read book. Now she is not interupting. We started with maximum 30 mins phone call now moved that to maximum 1 hour phone calls. We reduced phone calls that are not work related to maximum 4 hours per week(mostly weekends). We don’t pick phone calls at random times, we take them when she is not at home or as per schedule. We text friends if there is something unrgent or if we can call them back.

    I am not sure if this is relavant but as an example of play based teaching: I am teaching her blockly programing like a game, I ask her to stand at one corner of the room, then I sit somewhere and I ask her to list the step to reach me.. like Move Forward, Move Forward, right turn, Move forward, Move forward, Move forward(reached). I ask her to replace Move forwards with repeat on a condition.
    While there is no path to my right move forward, Turn right, while goal not reached move forward.
    Kids needs lots of play time and reading time. My daughter want to play lots of types of games. She learn quickly and get bored quickly. She expect lot of time from us. My wife spend 30mins in the evening for biking. I spend 1 hour for teaching something(math, science, programing , scoail skills as play based). Morning my wife spend 30 mins yoga with her and 30 mins writing practice. As part of yoga we also make her do sit ups by holding earlobs(in youtube we saw videos on that, called as super brain yoga). We also make her do surya namaskara(12 yoga postures for 10 times). She spends 30mins on activity sheets like coloring, finishing up any pending work from school. She spends 1 hour in the evening reading her favorite story books.

    Conclusion: below 4 things helped us.
    1. Physical activity(yoga/biking)
    2. Avoiding electronics
    3. Teaching play based socail skills
    4. Writing daily routine and involving her to be the keeper of routine.

    P.S: Each kid is different, some techniques work and some doesn’t. Sometimes we have to accept that our energy levels are not enough for our kids and we have to take care of our body.

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