I have a 2 year old and an almost 5 year old, and they are CONSTANTLY using nonsense words with some potty talk thrown in, and I know, I know, the key to end it is to ignore it, but I do ignore it, but they're getting the attention from eachother and they just feed eachother's fire. It's getting to point where they use more nonsense talk than real words, which I find troublesome especially for my 2 year old who had an amazing, rapidly expanding vocabulary. They can't even say a sentence without throwing in something. I've tried the ignore it route, I've tried timeouts, but even if they're separated across the house in time-outs, then they yell nonsense across the house at eachother. I'm a SAHM, so the lack of english language is driving me batty. we've cut back on time with friends/family because it's getting embarassing and sets a bad example for other kids. help!
constant nonsense/potty talk between siblings
Be real with them, have a convo about the behavior and how it's affecting their social calendar. How even though they think it's funny, Mama/Daddy/Grandma/Grandpa do not (and it's not polite), and they don't want to hear talk like that (or, whatever).
Set up a chart system. For every morning/afternoon/evening they go without the behavior, they get a sticker. X amount of stickers gets them a prize. Do it for every 3 days (for about 2wks), then every 5 days (for about 3wks), then every 7 days, etc. Have a list of reasonable prizes that will fit your budget, but that they would be interested in earning, and let them pick something from the list each time they have earned something. Have them help choose some of the prizes, so they are invested in the behavior change.
Be firm. Be consistent.
"We aren't going to talk like that anymore."
"Please use words everyone understands."
"That is not polite, please say it again."
"We cannot go to Johnny's house because you are not talking nicely today. Instead, we will sit quietly and read books." (Probably not for the extent of the supposed visit, but you get the idea.)
"Uh, oh. No sticker for this time. Let's try harder to get the next sticker."
It will take lots of reminders, and possibly lots of consequences, but if you remain consistent, then the behavior will change.
Hope this helps.
What worked for us was something I saw another mom do that I thought was BRILLIANT. :) Potty talk belongs in the bathroom. So if my child wants to talk about pee/poop they need to go to the bathroom and try on the potty (or spend a few minutes in there anyway). It works quite well. They still do the occassional potty talk with one another, but it is not crazy over the top anymore.
Let them do it!!!! Its normal, its typical, its fun! It is actually a sign of creativity (what if I went back and told Dr. Seuss to stop using nonsense words).
I find it interesting when parents I know complain about potty talk because this is what I usually see: from the moment a baby is born we are OBSESSED with their elimination cycle, have they peed have they pooped, they fart and we check their diaper, they fart and we laugh, they look strained and we say "oh are you pooping????" they cry and we say "uh oh are you wet? Did you pee? Do you need a change?" Then they get a little older and we start talking about peeing and pooping NON STOP while potty learning "do you need to pee?" "YOU PEED IN THE POTTY!" we call their grandparents and post on facebook when they finally poop in the potty!!!! Every time they dance we inquire "do you need to go potty???" Then all of sudden.......
POTTY TALK IS BAD BAD BAD AND RUDE!!!!! WHOA paradigm shift! We just modeled for YEARS that potty talk was appropriate, that we do it in front of grandma, in front of strangers, at the store, at the table, everywhere all day long and then BAM! No more potty talk!!!!! It is hard to comprehend.
For nonsense words, if it is really bothering you and you can't get over it, then you just say, "Huh I don't know what a zizzer is. Can you tell me another word for it?"
And there is the playful parenting approach to the words you don't like to hear, "You can talk about poop all you want as long as you don't say BANANA." Then they say "banana" and you get over the top upset "oh no you said banana!!! I can't believe it! How could you???" etc and then they will continue to say "banana" or whatever word you substitute instead. This approach works way faster than rewards and punishments (usually instantly). Lather, rinse, repeat.
Sometimes when I can't handle the constant toddler chatter because I've been with ds all day long, I'll put some music or a light book I've already listened to (so I don't have to pay too much attention) on my ipod. I keep the volume low enough that I can still hear and respond to him, but it does help my patience a lot to have something else to listen to!
Hi Oliver's Mama,
I just wanted to let you know that, as the mother of a couple of boys who are also 3 years apart, I understand where you're at with this! My boys are a couple years ahead of yours (4- and 7-years old now), but I totally remember a time when potty language was my little one's "in" with his big brother and his big brother's friends. We didn't have as much of the nonsense talk, but-man-they were deep into potty-talking for a remarkably long time! And I could swear this started before DS2 had even turned 2 yet...
Anyhow, I would echo the sentiment that you should focus on keeping yourself sane, but try not worry too much about the children's development. It's interesting how nonsense talk can actually do a lot to develop children's understanding of grammar and the interesting ways language can be manipulated. I work in a research lab that studies word-learning in children and it's simply a fact that a child can learn as much about a language's structure through nonsense talk (assuming it's more or less grammatically correct) as he would through "correct language."
At this time, I would definitely do everything you can to *not* cut out time with family/friends... It seems that that's an unfair consequence for you! Also, I truly can't imagine that your kids could harm other kids by playing with language--if anything, playing with other kids will be just the thing to help them move on to their next "phase" (that will, most likely, driving you batty in other ways! )
He-llo.... they've been listening to Dr. Seuss books on tape non-stop in the car lately.
Thanks for the responses. I guess I should just let it go and assume it'll pass at some point, like most of their annoying habits do! I know I shouldn't let it bother me when they're around other kids, but I feel responsible when other parents start rolling their eyes and have to discipline their kids for imitating what my boys are doing. I think I almost feel more pressure to address the issues because others find it unacceptable, and I hate the thought of my kids being "those boys" that their kids are not allowed to play with. I should get over that, too, I suppose.