Does your kid go on and on (and on)? A behavior analyst and parent coach has some suggestions
When you have a bubbly, chatty kid, it can be a lot of fun. But what happens when your son or daughter is a little too talkative? A child who interrupts and talks over people can quickly frustrate other family members—and friends and guests. So how do you handle it? Well, thanks to this video from a child behavior analyst and parent coach on Instagram, we’ve got some good ideas.
“When we’re at the dinner table, my daughter will just go on and on and on,” analyst and coach Mandy Grass says in her video. “She’ll interrupt her sister, she’ll interrupt her parents—she just can’t read that cue that it’s somebody else’s turn to talk.”
She continues, “Has this been your house? It’s definitely been mine sometimes too. Let’s talk about how to address that.”
Grass, who explains that her daughter has ADHD and “can get really stuck on a topic and just keep going,” has four easy strategies you can use—and we’ll be putting these into practice ASAP.
1. Designate a future time to talk more
Grass’s first tip is to give your kid a designated time to talk about the thing they want to talk about. Her example is to say something like, “Hey, we’re at the dinner table right now. Let’s give somebody else a turn. I can’t wait to hear about the new book you’re reading—you and I can talk about it for 15 minutes before bed.”
2. Use video modeling
Grass goes on to explain that sometimes kids aren’t even aware of what it looks like when they’re dominating the conversation. To combat this, she recommends taking a video to share with them. Then, she says, you can point out their behaviors: “Oh, did you notice you interrupted eight times?” or “Hey, you talked for seven minutes, and your sister and I only got to talk for two.” This one might not work with all kids, however; there are definitely those who would respond with, “Well, I am making some very good points; everyone should listen to me.”
3. Use an example: “What clues can we look for?”
If that doesn’t do the trick, another way to help kids raise awareness is to help them look for clues, Grass says.
“You know when Grampy is lecturing about something for a really long time, and he’s going on and on?” she says. “She’s like, ‘Ugh! That’s the worst!’ I’m like, ‘Sometimes you can do that, too. So what are some clues that we can look for?'” Maybe people have stopped making eye contact or their body language says they’re not actively engaged. Grass also encourages her daughter to check in with people and simply ask if they still want to talk about a particular topic.
4. Use a non-verbal code
The last tip is to establish a non-verbal code to help your child recognize when people are done with a conversation. This can be as simple as using your index finger in a ciruclar motion to indicate “let’s wrap it up!” It could also be a simple tap on the lap if you happen to be seated next to one another at a table.
“Try some of these in your home,” Grass says. “See how it goes.” With these tips, conversations are all but guaranteed to flow more smoothly, even with the most talkative kid.