Teach your child to say “Excuse me” or to use another polite way to get an adult’s attention. Talk about how an informal “Hey” is good for kids and maybe some adults. But if your child is ever in doubt, tell him to stick with “Excuse me.”
Talk about the importance of greeting people before asking a question or jumping into a conversation or activity. Use role-play to help your child practice waiting for a response to his greeting before he dives in.
What you can say
“Jacob, let’s play a little game. It’s called ‘How to get ___’s attention.’ I’ll do the first one: How to get Coach’s attention. I might say, ‘Excuse me, Coach.’ How does that sound? Yes, I agree, he might be OK if you said, ‘Hey, Coach.’
“For the next round, let’s sub in one of your teammates. Yes, ‘Hey, Ben’ would be a good way to get his attention. Would you say ‘Excuse me, Ben’? No, I agree he might think that was a little too formal.”
“What about one of your teachers? Would you say ‘Hey’ or ‘Excuse me’ to Mrs. Brown? Yes, I think you’re right. She probably wouldn’t be too happy if you said ‘Hey’ or ‘Yo’ to get her attention.”
Why this will help
There are right ways and there are wrong ways to get someone’s attention. Some kids can jump gracefully into a conversation or activity while others land with a thud.
These social skills may not come naturally to children with learning and attention issues. But you can help your child develop these skills by providing examples of appropriate greetings and practicing them together.