“First smack your kid (the 5 across the eyes technique works). Wait a few seconds for your kid to start crying, then smack your kid again to let him know that you mean business. This usually shuts them up because they see that the amount of crying is proportional to the amount of beatings. The 2 x 4 / PVC pipe.”

Before you start throwing hate our way, let us explain…

First thing in the morning, Sam and I usually have a chat about our day, talk how the website is going, and sometimes we brainstorm ideas on new things to focus on.

This morning, we thought it might be a good idea to update our knowledge on the most popular terms parents are searching for on google.

It seems that parents are always striving to get their children to behave in a way that is different to how they are currently behaving, so I started our research by typing in “how do I get my kid to”

… and I was a little blown away when I saw these were the top suggested results:

I was a little concerned that “how do I get my kid to shut up” was apparently the top suggestion on google, but since we’re not parents yet, and probably can’t really relate, I thought maybe there was some substance to wanting your little mite to talk less and listen more.

So, I decided to see what results actually came up…

… and then I felt horrified!

That picture above – That’s the top result google shows when you hit the enter button for the search terms “how do I get my kid to shut up”.

For those of you who are regular visitors to our site you probably already know what my views are towards physical punishments (make that punishments of any kind). So, I won’t harp on about how there’s more than 50 years of research and thousands of studies showing the negative impacts physical punishments have on children (but if you are interested in learning more, click here).

But it did get me thinking. Maybe some parents do want their little cherubs to talk a little less (but remember, you do spend pretty much the first year of their life encouraging them to talk, and when they make the tiniest sound that even resembles a word you jump up and down like it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever heard, so it does make sense that they would want to continue on the “talking as much as possible” path…).

Anyway, getting back to the point, say you do want a little less chatter from darling cherub, perhaps it’s worth trying a milder approach:

Encourage Quiet Activities

If you have a little chatterbox that always has something to say, when you’re on the brink of having a melt-down from the never-ending talk, rather than discouraging their chatter, try encouraging them to participate in a quiet activity instead. (For example: read a book, listen to music with headphones, do some art or craft work etc.)
This approach helps give you a breather, without squashing your budding little conversationalists’ self-esteem, and helps them transfer their creative energies into something else for a while.

Discuss Appropriate Times to Talk

If you find that your little one regularly wants to have a D&M with you at the most inconvenient times, try acknowledging that they wish to talk to you, and explaining why you can’t talk at that moment, and then confirm when you will be available.

For example:

Honey I can’t wait to hear all about the rocket ship you and your friends made in the play ground this morning, but right now I really need to get ready for dinner at Nanna’s house. How about you get your things ready too and then you can tell me all about it when we get in the car?

This approach helps to validate to your child that you want to listen to them and understand what they want to tell you is important, while also setting boundaries around when to have these sorts of conversations.

Teach that “it’s polite to ask”

Have you ever met a child that just loves to tell you in explicit detail the in’s and out’s of the story line of the game they are playing, the book they have just read, or a story they have made up?

If your child is this way inclined, it might be helpful to teach them to ask whoever they are talking to if it’s OK to share the story before launching into it.

For example

I’m at a really exciting part of this game I’ve been playing on-line, is it OK if I tell you about it?

Most people will be willing to oblige, but it also gives them an out if it’s getting a bit too much (plus it helps your child learn to make conversation around shared interests rather than solely focusing on things that are only important to them).

Teach Conversation Etiquette

Lastly, it’s really important to teach young children that conversation works both ways. Teaching your child that, in any conversation, they talk for a little bit, and then the other person talks for a little bit, and sometimes they need to ask the other person a question about what they have said, can really help reduce a constant one-sided chatter.

If your child finds this particularly difficult, start off by encouraging them just to think of one question to ask the other person during a conversation, before responding with their thoughts, ideas or point of view.

Try practicing at home first, and give feedback as needed. Over time your child will learn that conversation works both ways… and it will hopefully reduce constant non-stop chatter.

Do you have a little one in your life who loves to chat?

What strategies work for you?

Let us know in the comments below!

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