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Ask the Experts

How Can I Teach My Talkative Child When to Be Quiet?

By Dr. Ruth Jacoby, Educational Consultant

Question:

My five-year-old talks constantly. I am worried about him starting school and his ability to control himself. How do I help him to learn when it is appropriate to talk at school and when it's not?

Answer:

You may want to visit your local school to show your child how students behave in a classroom setting. Discuss with him why teachers have rules and how important it is to allow everyone to have a chance to participate.

Practice this by going to your local library's story hour. Here your child will learn that there is a time to be quiet and listen, and a time to participate in the conversation. You may wish to have family time discussions. Here again your child will discover how to pay attention to what others have to say, in addition to being given a chance to be heard.

By practicing the art of taking turns prior to the start of school, you will give your child a head start on learning cooperation, and the art of listening and communicating. We must remember sometimes actions speak louder than words and it is not what we tell our children but the way in which we set an example. Remember also to praise your child: "I am so proud of the way you listened to the story just now."


Dr. Ruth Jacoby has been involved in education for more than 30 years as an educator, principal and currently as an educational consultant in Florida. She is the co-author of the School Talk! Success Series including Parent Talk!: The Art of Effective Communication With the School and Your Child, Homework Talk!: The Art of Effective Communication About Your Child's Homework and Test Talk!: Understanding the Stakes and Helping Your Children Do Their Best.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

07/9/2009:
"What about a 12 year old boy? He's a very talkative in his school. What shall I do?"
04/30/2009:
"I read this article and I have the exact opposite problem. I have a 7 year old daughter who never shares, when asked how a field trip or Birthday party went she simply responds 'good' but details on anything are non existant. I know that she talks freely in school with her classmates and teachers, sometimes too much so why does she not talk at home? We have a secure solid family unit, stay at home mom little brother who she adores but yet when it comes to asking about her day or events she is very non committed, good fine, and once in a while you will get a it was cool there was a ... but seldomly. Sometimes I get the feeling that she finds it hard to remember what happened throughout the day. Is there any information I can read to help her with these recall skills. Thanking you in advance M. Martens"
04/16/2009:
"I have a very happy go lucky 9 yr.old son. He struggles with being overtalkative. He will go may be a week or two doing well in school not talking and then the wheels fall off of the wagon. I am trying to get him to be responsible for his own behavior. He is a very smart boy, gifted. Do have any suggestions that may make something click for him? I am trying to find some way for him to understand."
08/12/2008:
"my 7 yr granddaughter is a constant talker. she gets in trouble in school, has her desk moved only to have her talk across the room to another child. how can we encourage and help her to stop the non necessary talk. she also sings constantly. help."
07/21/2008:
"I have 3 kids ages from 1-5 my 5year old just don't lisent I will like my son to sleep in his room and i can get hem to stay there his a very hard person to handle there is sometimes that we get visitors at are house and he just dont lisent we ask hem to stop interaupting us when we are talking at he just wont stop i need ur help im just scrare he can grow up with no maners. I ask hem for something and he said he is tired never what to do anything and he is so active his always jumping in the sofas in the bed I ask hem to please stop because he can get hurt but he wont do it. Please Help"
09/11/2007:
"My five year old has started school. The teacher has called to say he will not be quiet, does not focus and has trouble keeping his hands to himself. Help it has only been four days and the teacher has moved his desk away from everyone else, taken away recess and excluded him from taking part in activities."
05/24/2007:
"my 4 year old will be 5 july 10th .. he is very active and on the go all the time.. is he ready to start school... he cant yet write letters but he can type his name on the computer. "
09/14/2006:
"THIS HAS A LITTLE TO DO WITH THE STORY BUT I REALLY NEED A LITTLE HELP WITH MY FIVE YEAR OLD SON I DON'T KNOW WHO TO TALKED TO MY SON STARTED KINDERGARTEN ABOUT 1 WEEK AGO AND I ALREADY GOT COMPLAINES ABOUT HIM NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE TEACHER THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE TEACHER TOLD ME THAT HE FRASTURATES HER SORRY FOR THE MISSPELLED WORDS MY SON DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL I TALKED TO THE PRICIPLE AND SHE UNDERSTUD THAT I WAS UPSET BUT KNOW WHAT I TALKED TO THE TEACHER BUT THE PROBLEM IS I DON'T FEEL COMFTURBLE CAUSE WHILE HE'S IN SCHOOL I WONDER WHAT GOING ON AND WHEN I GO PICK HIM UP I WONDER WHAT SHE'S GOING TO SAY KNOW"
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