Do you have a kindergarten child at home who will not stop chattering?
Do you often get calls from your child’s teacher about his talkative behaviour in kindergarten?
Well, this may not be entirely a negative thing.
According to a news article by Telegraph,
Children who are vocal and talkative actually perform better in school than shy and introverted children.
This is because they are able to get the teacher’s attention more so than withdrawn students. Similarly, with the help of specific behavioural strategies, they can become more engaged in class activities.
There are many reasons why your child is chattier than others. Children who are extroverts are eager to socialise and communicate with the people around them. They wish to share about what they discover and how they feel.
Also, at the kindergarten stage, children think aloud until they are about seven or eight as this is actually part of their developmental process.
On one hand, it may seem as if they are talking incessantly, but really, they are just articulating what is going on in their heads. Sometimes, however, talking too much may hinder learning in school as your child is not listening carefully to the teacher.
Here are some simple strategies that can be used to help your child regulate his talkative behaviour.
1. Identify times in the class schedule that your child can talk freely
Work with the teacher to break down the schedule of a day in kindergarten with your child. Explain to him when it is a good time to talk and when it is not. For example, during morning meetings and snack time, it might be a good time to chat with his teacher and friends. However, during an instructional time such as reading or math, it may not be the perfect time to talk.
Most kindergartens in Singapore may also use a noise level chart to help cue students on an appropriate time to speak. For example, noise level ‘0’ is no voices, ‘1’ is whispers only and ‘3’ for table talk voices. Encourage your child to adhere to these cues to help manage his talking behaviour in school.
2. Kindergartens in Singapore use positive reinforcement systems
Another way of helping your child to talk less and listen more is to use a simple positive reinforcement system. Work with your child’s teacher to positively reinforce attending and listening behaviours. A sticker reward chart is a popular behavioural tool that most kindergartens in Singapore use and it encourages your child to work towards his goals.
For example, if a child is listening well in class, the teacher will give him a sticker on his reward chart. When he completes his chart, he may be rewarded with a privilege to do something fun such as free play or drawing time. This can also be used at home to help your child focus and speak at the right time.
3. Assign periods of time at home for sharing and for quiet work
In order to have some reprieve from your chatty ‘threenager’ or ‘fournado’, set aside pockets of time for quiet work. Remind your child that during the quiet hour, everyone in the household will engage in non-communicative work such as reading quietly, crafting or even quiet imaginative play.
At the same time, provide equal opportunity for your child to talk to you and allow him to share his feelings. Your child craves for your attention and participation as they speak to you. Make sure to listen and respond accordingly. By committing to this conversation, you are boosting his self-esteem and fostering his socio-emotional development. Keep up with this regular routine of sharing time and quiet time to allow your child to have moments to talk freely and moments to wind down.
The above strategies are worth a try to help your child go easy on the talking and focus better. Do check out this video for more tips to help your talkative child become less distracted: