There are ways to teach kids to stop talking when they need to.
Lots of kids loveto talk, especially young kids. If they’re excited about something, they might go on and on until somebody says it’s time to give it a rest. As they get older, kids typically do that for themselves. They recognize that they’re talking too much, and they stop.
The key is knowing how much is “too much.” Being a talker isn’t always a bad thing. Talkative kids can be charming, funny, and interesting. But when their conversation is endless or happens at the wrong time and place, it can turn people off—especially other kids.
If you’ve seen this happening with your child, you may have questions about it. Why can’t your child see that other people are getting annoyed? Is it overexcitement or nervousness? Is it even something to be concerned about?
Learn why some kids talk nonstop and how to help your child dial it back.
What You Might Be Seeing
Nonstop talking isn’t just about the amount of time kids take up in a conversation or how long they go on about the same subject. It’s also about when and where they talk, and what they say.
Kids who have a hard time holding themselves back from talking may:
Offend or annoy people by saying the first thing that pops into their head
Their nonstop talking can also draw a lot of negative feedback. Other kids may tease them or leave them out. And adults may think they’re being rude and call them out on it.
Why Some Kids Talk Nonstop
There are lots of reasons kids talk too much. They may just be passionate about a topic. They’re so interested that they want to share every single detail about it. Kids who tend to get fixated on a topic are especially likely to go on and on about it.
Some kids have trouble with social skills in general. They have a hard time picking up on social cues like body language and facial expressions. So they may not notice how other people are reacting to their talking.
Trouble with self-control can also be a factor. Some kids are impulsive and have a hard time putting off what they want to do. If there’s something they want to talk about, they won’t stop to think about whether it’s a good time or place to talk. They may have a hard time stopping themselves even if they know they’re talking too much.
Ways to Help With Nonstop Talking
No matter what’s causing the constant talking, there are ways to help your child have more control over it.
Role-play conversations. Explain to your child that the most important part of talking with other people is listening. Then have
practice conversations. Help your child focus on listening by asking questions about what you’ve been saying.
Have your child write it down. If your child speaks up in class too much, suggest writing the ideas down to bring up later. Doing this can help at home, too.
Teach your child to “stop, look, and listen.” Show your child how to stop every few sentences and look to see how the other people in the conversation are reacting. Do they look or sound annoyed?
Develop a “secret code.” Secret signals can be a good way to let kids know when they’re going on too long or veering off topic. Your signal could be scratching your head or clearing your throat, for example.
Help your child acknowledge the issue. Give your child things to say about the behavior. One example is: “I interrupted you. Sorry about that. Sometimes I get carried away.” Your child can follow that with, “What were you about to say?”
Be patient. It takes time, effort, and lots of practice for kids to get into the habit of using these kinds of strategies.
Keep in mind that it can be hard on kids’ self-esteem to get negative reactions from people. If that’s happening to your child, showing empathy can make a big difference.