Raising a Chatty Child

By Janet Freeman for Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers

raising a chatty child

My daughter likes to talk. A lot.

I knew I was in trouble when, at age three, she raced a neighbor to the corner. “Look at us!” she squealed, legs pumping, arms flailing. “We’re running! We’re running so fast! We’re racing each other to the corner and I’m gonna—!”

How did that sentence end? I have no idea, nor do I remember who won the race. It’s inconsequential, one memory among thousands. But memorable for the fact it was the first time I realized there is no task in the world, no self-contained experience, my daughter would like to keep to herself.

Is there a term for this? Loquacious doesn’t seem to do Lu’s chattiness justice.

Another example: this morning after a few minutes of Lu—now six—simultaneously crunching her cereal flakes, brandishing a sausage link as a microphone and talking to me about … something, I asked her if, for once, please, we could sit in silence. Just for a little while. Just until Mama finishes her cup of coffee to recover from the morning’s wake-up call that occurred when she climbed in bed with me before sun-up, scratching bug bites on her shins and kicking her feet and asking if I really had come in her room last night to shut the window (I don’t know, can you look?), if it was true I’d pulled the covers to her chin the same as the night before and the night before that and 2,190 nights before that? (Hmm … is there a logic-pattern that can be applied to this?)

“Lu,” I mumbled, “will you please let me sleep? For just a minute?”

Just a minute has become a refrain around here, a plea and command both, though rarely executed without a tone of resignation. I consider myself a fairly decent disciplinarian, but my inability to get my daughter to be quiet for more than ten seconds has led me to believe she simply can’t do it.

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