Make your child aware that she just barged into a situation and didn’t seem to notice how her actions affected anyone else. Stop her as soon as this happens. Replay the scene and point out her friends’ or family members’ reactions.
Then use role-play to show her how it feels when you barge in on her. Try to keep the reenactment funny and light, but make the point obvious. Help her understand she can’t just jump right in because she feels like it. She needs to pause and think about how to approach others.
What you can say
“Sofia, stop right there. You just ran into the room and grabbed the remote from your brother to change the channel. Back up just a minute. I need you to think about what you just did.”
“Yes, I know the game is about to come on and you’re psyched to watch it. But look around the room, please. Your brothers and I are watching a show. It’ll be over in time to switch the channel for the game, but that’s not the point. Look at your brothers’ expressions. They’re really upset that you just barged in here and took control.”
“I want to make sure you understand how this feels, so I’m going to reenact this scene while I’m pretending to be you. Here I come racing in at breakneck speed! Is there an emergency?!? Do we need to call an ambulance?!? What could be so important that I feel the need to dive headlong for the remote control?!?”
“Is there breaking news on TV?!? Are aliens invading our planet? What’s so important that I absolutely positively must change the channel without so much as saying a single word first to my family? Whoa! Oh my gosh! It’s Bob Costas! Doing a pregame show! Holy cow! That’s almost as big a deal as an alien invasion!”
“Yes, Sofia, we’re all laughing right now. It seems funny when I make a game of it. But you were quick to point out that what I did bothered you and your brothers. You have to stop and think before you act. Remember that you’re not the only person around.”
“OK, we have 15 minutes before the game comes on, so let’s try the scene over again. This time, let’s see if you can join the family and ask for the channel to be changed without causing World War Three. Good job, Sofia. Much better this time.”
Why this will help
Children with learning and attention issues are often so inwardly focused that they don’t recognize or acknowledge the needs of others. By stopping a situation and replaying it with hammed-up highlights, you can show your child how her behavior appeared to other people.
Watching you role-play exaggerated situations will focus your child on her behavior and how it affected everyone else in the room. By using a little humor, you’ll help keep her engaged and willing to practice often enough for the appropriate behavior to stick.