We already have some good tips for quieting the noise in our homes. We also know a great calm down trick for excessive hyperactivity. Now let’s talk about what to do when your child talks nonstop… and it makes you want to pull your hair out.
We must all understand the irony of this…
I am a nonstop talker.
Well, to be honest, I talk less than I used to. Mostly because with these kids, I can’t get a word in. But I used to talk all the time.
When I was nervous.
When I was bored.
Maybe because I’m a lonely only (Birth Order Matters) and I never had a sibling around to take the edge off my talking. Either way… I’m getting back what I paid in. In spades!
I recently had a reader write and ask this. I’ve paraphrased (because I can’t find the email) but this was the gist.
“I love my daughter to pieces, but she talks nonstop. She is constantly asking me questions and trying to get my attention while I’m doing things and it really drives me nuts.
I know it’s not good to ignore her or get frustrated, and I want her to feel she can talk to me, but she talks nonstop and it’s making me crazy.
At the time, I sent one or two tips, but I hadn’t really had direct experience with this, and now I do.
But before we move on… I know you are all thinking of this quote. This beautiful true quote that is also guilt inducing if your talker is doing your head in.
Let’s agree that listening and engaging with our kids is good. It’s possible to be a present parent without losing it.
It is also possible, however, to pretend your talker doesn’t drive you nuts and then – when you can’t take it anymore – explode in frustration with something like “Shut up!” or “Can’t you just stop talking for like 5 minutes?”
Really… those reactions are what we want to avoid.
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What To Do When Your Child Talks Nonstop (And You Want to Pull Your Hair Out…)
Having a child who talks a lot and wants to engage with you is good, let’s figure out how to make it good for everyone.
Make Time For Talk
So the first thing we need to make sure we’re doing is to actually engage with our child. My Talker wants to talk all the time so it seems like we talk all the time… but when I thought about it we don’t really.
I’ve tried to make purposeful time for conversations throughout the day, or at least a good run at bedtime, so I know there is true talking happening.
This can be ten minutes while you prepare dinner, a nice cuddle in bed at bedtime, or talking in the car while running errands.
Make Eye Contact and Focus
When you’ve decided it’s Talk Time, make sure you are focusing. I’ve found it so hard to focus on anything throughout the day when the kids are all running free.
Just today as the kids were doing chores and vying for our attention and being loud, my husband looked at me and said…
“We live on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.”
That said, when I’ve decided I’m going to fully listen, it’s much easier.
To make sure you’re engaging you can:
- kneel down at their eye level
- put down your phone, book, or task at hand
- repeat what your child has said (active listening) before responding
- ask questions they can’t answer with “yes” or “no”
Make Time for You
Here’s the kicker. You need to find time for you (if you’re bad at this, I’ve created a printable workbook for you). If you are consistently at the end of your rope you’ll not react well to your children.
You’ll become an angry mom with a lot of triggers. You’ll be unreasonable, then regret it.
Find time for yourself in the everyday. Then, if that’s not enough, prioritize it. This could be one evening a week. It might mean giving your bathroom a face lift so it’s a spa like retreat for you in the evenings.
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Choose Helpful Phrases
Yesterday my husband was swimming in the pool with two kids. He said they were constantly talking, asking questions, nudging, nudging, asking questions, and he nearly lost it.
And for him, “losing it” means withdrawing from the family.
Afterwards we talked and he decided he needed to instruct them to give him space, not simply close his eyes and try not to blow his lid.
These phrases can help you to communicate your need for space to your child without being rude or causing them to feel rejected.
The effects of rejection in childhood are real and, where possible, we always want to communicate acceptance while we keep our boundaries.
- “Give me a minute.” Kids can learn this.
- “I need some space.” Before you need the space, explain what this means.
- “No talking for a minute or two.” As long as you don’t test them beyond their self-control levels, this works.
Let Them Talk… and Let Go of Guilt
At the end of the day, some children talk more than others. Sometimes they go on and on and on and on and it’s not only annoying, but maddening.
Ultimately, we want our children to talk to us freely and willingly, but we also have limits.
This is particularly true for introverted moms.
If you must, just let them talk. You can even tell them they are free to talk, but you can’t respond right now. It’s okay. You don’t have to feel guilty you aren’t able to engage in active conversation 24 hours a day. Kids can learn when it’s a good idea to talk to you or not.
Engage with your child.
Be present when you’re present.
And give yourself a break when you need a rest.
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