I tried the 'Squeeze Technique' with my kids and was amazed at the results 7 months ago

I tried the 'Squeeze Technique' with my kids and was amazed at the results

Patience and kids are often two mutually exclusive things, no?

I mean; have you ever tried to have a conversation with your other half about something, only for the kids to butt in with five million questions or requests? Or tried to catch up with another mum about an upcoming school event only for your kids to tug on your hands relentlessly and interrupt you with "Mum! Mum! Mum!" until you finally just give up on the adult conversation and give them your attention?

Sounds familiar? I think we have all been here. And the thing is – this is totally normal and even developmentally appropriate for young kids.

From roughly age two to age seven, children are naturally egocentric, meaning that it’s hard for them to think about points of view different from their own, or to separate their thoughts and feelings from other people’s. Meaning – they don't think that you chatting to their dad about dinner plans or their teacher about their homework matter as much as whatever it is they are dying to tell you RIGHT NOW.

But the thing is – just because this is normal, doesn't mean it's not utterly annoying being interrupted all the time. And this is where the wonderfully effective 'Squeeze Technique' comes in.

I can't remember where I first heard about it, but I think it was a parenting blog of some sort, and have since seen the 'Squeeze Technique' both hailed by child experts and referenced by other parents too.

The Squeeze Technique

Beautifully simple, here is how the Squeeze Technique works:

Explain to your children that if they really want to tell you something when you are busy talking to someone else, be it in person or on the phone, that they should grab your hand (gently) and squeeze it. Then, to let them know you have 'heard' them and will hear them out shortly, you give their hand a squeeze back.


Now they know you are aware that they want your attention, but that you are not ready right now to give it to them.

The trick is, I found, is that the first few times you do this, be ready to wrap up your adult conversation pretty quickly and give your kids the attention they are asking for. That way, they will see that the technique works and trust that when they use it again, you will get to them, even if it takes a little bit longer for you to finish your adult conversation first.

As time goes on, of course, you can increase the time between them squeezing your hands asking for attention, and when you actually are ready to give it to them.

When I tried it with my little boy, who was notorious when it came to being impatient when I was chatting to other adults, it really made such a huge difference – and almost immediately so.

I think having something to physically do – squeeze my hand – and for me to respond in the same way – it really made him feel heard, even though I wasn't looking at him or talking to him right then and there.

Over time, he got more patient, as he learned that I really had heard him and he knew I would hear him out shortly. Sometimes, if my other conversations really dragged on a bit, we would gently squeeze each other's hands back and forth a few times, but again, I think just by feeling me squeeze his hand back, he knew I was 'listening' and paid him attention, even if it was with my hand and not with my eyes and ears right then and there.

Tell us – have YOU tried the Squeeze Technique yet? Or have you other ways to teach your kids to be patient? Let us know in the comments!