Motherhood Skills: The “Touch and Wait” Rule


*tap, tap, tap*


*tug, tug, tug*


*pat, pat, pat, pat* (repeat until attention is given).

We’ve all been
there. We have our kids by our sides and are making our way to the worship area
to settle in and prepare our family for worship. Or we are at Whole Foods in produce section
or trying to buy school clothes at Target. Suddenly we meet a dear soul who
would like to speak with us, or someone we need to connect with or just
socialize for a few minutes. Just doing the ministry of people. But we hear and
feel our little ones vying for our attention and the interruption is a

Perhaps they just want to show us their artwork from Sunday school,
or need to use the restroom and get a drink. Or maybe, they want to ask us if
they can go home with a friend for lunch or make special purchase.

they may need, it makes our stress level go up.

It makes us appear to the adult
we are trying to speak with that we are not truly sincere in our concern for
them, or worse, that our children are spoiled, disrespectful or unruly.

One little helpful
trick that has worked for our family with huge success is what we call the “touch
and wait”
rule. I think I heard it at a parenting class I took when my
first son was born. I instructed my
kids, as young as 4, that I was always there for them and wanted them to come
to me, even at church, with their needs.
I never wanted to give them the impression that they were second to my
ministry. So we adopted a special procedure they needed to follow. I also explained that there would be
consequences later if they did not observe this pattern.

If they needed to
ask me something or speak to me while I was conversing with an adult, instead
of interrupting us, they were to wordlessly place a gentle hand somewhere on my
body and wait with it there until I could come to a stopping place in my
conversation and give them my attention. As soon as I felt their touch, I would
place my hand on theirs to show I understood they were waiting.

The result was, the
adult I was ministering to felt like they were a priority to me and had no idea
we were using signals. My kids were always looked at as well behaved and
courteous, and most importantly, my kids knew I was on their side.

We used this system
up until they were grown. It was our
little secret code. We used it when shopping, when I was on the phone, and when
we were at community events. It was such a relief to my stress level and taught
the boys self-control and the preciousness of others. It also taught them that they were not a nuisance or
distraction to me, I was still 100% their mom, even when I was “on duty”.

If you can relate to
my struggle, why not give this solution a try.
Kids can readily understand the “rules.” And be sure to reward them when they implement it correctly. Say, “I sure did love the way you used the
“touch and wait” rule in the lobby today.
You are such a helper and I am thankful you have sure great

Any little thing
that can make a Sunday or shopping trip a little smoother for you and your
family is certainly worth a try! Keep
doing what you do… People matter, especially our little ones.

Published November 8, 2014