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Archive for September, 2010

Or, How to Stay Sane with a Super-talker

My daughter is a super-talker. By that I mean that she is a non-stop, incessant babble machine who enjoys little more than an in-depth interview of nearly limitless questions, only 4 of which she’ll listen to the answers of. My daughter is approaching 4 and, yes, I know this is the age of inquiry, but you know you’ve got a super-talker on your hands when your child’s preschool teacher pulls you aside and says, “I have never taught a child who asks so many questions. How do you handle it?”

So, here’s how I handle it (so far).

A) Full attention

I mentioned my daughter has a nigh-limitless set of questions. I have found that it’s tremendously effective to actually get down on her level, give her 100% attention and answer each question thoroughly. I have to remind her to not interrupt while I’m answering her question, but in giving full answers I am able to slow the rapid rate of inquiry. This, in turn, slows her mind and gets her to focus on qualitative questions and insights rather than blather. When I really hunker down and give full attention, the dynamic shifts from a non-stop pinball machine of verbal spewing to an actual conversation… a conversation that, after between 5 & 10 full questions… ends!!!!!!!!

B) The Quiet Game

This is an oldie and goodie and is very effective in the car. We usually play it during the last mile or two driving home and it gives my daughter a focal point – to see if she can make it all the way home without talking. Of course, even during the “Quiet Game” she is compelled to be the commentator. So, every 30-40 seconds she’ll peep out a “Mommy, I’m being so quiet, I’m going to win!” At least there’s a little gap between updates!

C) The Butterfly Song

I invented this one night while we were visiting my parents. Everyone was sitting around the table after dinner and, despite the rather loud hum of our general conversation, my daughter was still capable of dominating the room with her incessant chatter. She was overtired and the “second wind” switch had been flipped. Her prattling was not about conversation or real interaction with others, but just a way of burning off energy. The children had just gone to a butterfly museum with their grandparents the day before so, in a moment of desperation and divine inspiration, I proposed we all sing a rondo of “The Butterfly Song.”

This is how it’s done: Everyone gets quiet and one person starts the “song” by bobbing their head like they’re belting out a huge melody, but keeping their lips pursed tight. After a few bobs, they point to another person and that person picks up where the unheard tune left off. Round and round the rondo goes until it makes its way back to the starter…. Voila!!! At least a minute of blissful silence achieved AND the tenor of the moment has shifted to a more sedate energy.

My daughter now loves the Butterfly Song and will often propose we “sing” it in the car 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

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