Are you living with a chatter-box? If your child is a preschooler, the answer is probably “yes”.
Three and four and five year olds love to ask questions. And when they’re not asking questions they’re likely singing, or repeating nursery rhymes, or counting, or telling tall tales. And when they’re not doing any of that, they may even be making up new words. Unfortunately, their continual dialogues are pretty much one way. That’s because, while most pre-schoolers are very verbal, they haven’t quite managed the fine art of conversation. Speech and language pathologist Janice Greenberg explains that “by three or four a child has perfected a number of elements of language. They have also learned a lot about how to have conversations with people although this is still quite primitive. They’re neither sure how to get your attention nor how to keep your attention which is why they become little chatter-boxes.”
So how do you get a young child to listen as well as to speak? Greenberg says you should do this with great care because “you don’t want to really discourage the child because they are showing an interest in talking and especially talking with you.”
While children’s speech and language development should be encouraged, it’s also important for children to learn that continual interruptions are inappropriate. Greenberg says that ”we need to tune kids into the subtle social signals that govern when we do and don’t talk, and when we stop and give someone else a turn. We also have to teach them appropriate ways to get into conversations. If it’s something important she wants to say, she must wait for a pause in the conversation, and say “excuse me” and wait for an acknowledgement and then make the statement. And that’s something even a 3 or 4 year old can learn.”
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.