Help My Six Year Old Never Stops Talking

Updated on May 14, 2011
M.S. asks from Lincolnshire, IL
22 answers

I have a six year old daughter that NEVER stops talking. I am with her all day, except for the two and a half hours she is at kindergarten. She wants to talk all day and wants me to listen and respond all day. By 4:00, I am ready to scream. I can not listen to her stories, questions, suggestions, great ideas and just plain old chatter all day!! What do you do? Would I be a bad mom if I tell her that she can not talk all day or do I just need to deal with and listen to her chattering from 7:00 am to 8:30 pm. I love her dearly, but I am going crazy!!!

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answers from Washington DC on

I still haven't found the "mute button" on my almost 4 year old and am am realizing I won't find it...untill she's a teenager, clams up and never wants to talk to me again! I wrote a similar post if you search, "mute button" and I got some great answers!
Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

What she is doing is RUDE. It's up to you to teach her that she's being rude. Everyone needs some time to be quiet and THINK. You will NOT be a bad mom if you make her develop some independent skills and close the mouth and actually do something more constructive than babble all day.

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answers from New York on

Here's my answer to a similar question that was posted recently:
Haven't read all the responses, but I may have a different take on the "too much talking" thing. I have an 11 year old girl. She was always a good talker - clear, detailed, etc. I remember when it seemed she would never stop talking (maybe 3 or 4 years old? it's been a while). Being confined in the car with her for any length of time would give me a headache.

I'm of the school of thought that just because a child CAN do something (like talking every waking minute) doesn't mean they SHOULD continue to do something. At some point, I knew I wanted to teach my daughter the art of CONVERSATION which is very different from just randomly talking non-stop. One day I very nicely and gently explained to her that conversation is when you say something and then I say something related and then you say something. The person who isn't talking is listening to the other person. She was able to grasp this concept at that young age. I explained to her (again nicely) that NOBODY wants to hear someone else talk ALL DAY long and it is nice to just have quiet time. I explained that although I loved to hear what she had to say, that I wouldn't allow her to just go ON and ON about nothing. It took some practice, but she got the hang of it.

When she got a bit older, she started to notice that some kids just talked all day about nothing. She actually said to me - Mom, I'm so glad you taught me how to have a conversation because some kids just never stop talking and it's just too much noise. Honestly, I don't want her going out into the world talking everyone's ears off so why would I let her develop the habbit of talking about nothing all day? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my teaching her this has not stopped her creativity or stunted her emotional growth in any way. I don't see anything wrong with teaching your children this - I think it will serve them well in the future. Just my 2 cents.

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answers from Dallas on

First suggestion: wine ;) Second, I would try and get her to adhere to one hour of alone quiet play time a day where she can read, play toys, whatever in her room alone so you can get some sanity. Get a timer and when it goes off, she can start the chatting again. Good luck

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answers from Redding on

Im laughing. This 3 1/2 yr old grand daughter can talk like crazy and is relentless in her questions. What makes her so unique is she tells us what to say back to her. Its as if she wrote the script and we have to follow it word for word or she gets upset. I can tune it out easy,, no problem when shes talking nonstop, but, when she wants you to follow her script you are in trouble. If I dont answer she gets ticked, and lets me know. Beleive me I have worked on this for well over a year now and she still has a tough time letting us say what we want and not answer if we dont want. She has her moments of quiet when she will look at books or play with toys just wonderfully. But it never fails,, she comes back with "hey grama, you be the M. dinosaur and I am the baby and now you say "hi baby, how are you?" "say it grama, just say hi baby how are you?".. I love it,,but yeah,, it can get to be too much.

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answers from Washington DC on

there's not an easy answer. i don't agree that teaching a child the art of conversation will stifle her creativity, and i also don't think that just tuning a child like this out is appropriate. when a child is ignored routinely, they learn that ignoring someone else in a conversation is par for the course and learn to become one of those awful people who don't consider conversation a mutual exercise, but only look at other people as Giant Ears.
i think you can work with a talkative child about conversational manners just as you teach them other points of courtesy. in ADDITION to this (not instead of), declare certain times 'quiet times' where everyone just thinks and doesn't talk out loud. depending on what your sanity requirements are, this could either be for one hour each in the morning, afternoon and evening, or for 10 minutes out of each hour (which would probably be more do-able for a little.)
you are entitled to a little peace! just work with with her on it.
:) khairete

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answers from Portland on

Hi there,

I'm in the same boat. My four year old wants to ask questions all day-- but these aren't interesting, because these are questions he already knows the answer to. "Was Tyranosaurus Rex a meat eater?" (hell, yeah!) "Did diplodicus die? Did triceratops die? ("Dude, they all died. Every single dinosaur died.Millions of years ago.") "Can we eat dinosaur meat?" ....notice a theme?

If I did not actively ignore my son, I would go crazy. I listen for when he asks "interesting questions" (questions he hasn't asked a million times), and then stop and answer those.

What I have found works for me is to sometimes say "You know, right now, Mama needs to think about X (washing dishes, cooking, whatever it is you want to do), and so I'm going to be quiet for a while. If you want to keep talking, you can play (over there, bedroom, living room). I'll let you know when I'm ready to talk again."

There's something to be said for teaching kids context. As I said, I've been through this with my son. His habit of introducing "done to death" topics with his preschool peers has been met with some exclusion. I even heard another child tell him, rolling their eyes "We know that already. You always tell us that." Made me sad, but made me understand MY part in his habit of doing this. I love Kiddo so much, and realized that my answering/indulging these repetitive questions was actually setting a bad example for him.

Is yours by chance an "only"? I ask this because mine is, and my experience is that only children are answered a lot more, mainly because when they are home with us, it's just us and them. When they talk, we assume they are talking to us.

I hope it gets better and don't feel badly for being frustrated. I know that if I hear "Did plant eaters eat meat eaters?" again and again, I might go nuts too.

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answers from Chicago on

I used to tell my daughter that we were entering a quiet zone (she couldn't read the road signs yet). I told her we had to be quiet until we left the quiet zone. It worked for 2-3 years. A few years back, on a numbingly cold day (I was visiting my parents), my car died. My parents got it into their favorite mechanic to get fixed, but I wasn't able to drive home until evening. I was stressed out driving and my little chatterbox was going at it. I finally asked her not to talk out loud for awhile .... and she was quiet for a few minutes and then said 'M.? My head hurts!'.

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answers from Sacramento on

Tell her to go play in her room! Find some really great music that she likes (my almost-6 year old is in love with Natalie Merchant's children's music CD right now) and put that on for her in her room. Tell her she has to play by herself for an hour. Get her a clock so she can see when the hour is up. I do it at least once a day with my little chatterbox, and it helps me maintain my sanity. :)

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answers from St. Louis on

Haha, mine does too. I have to tell her sometimes, enough with the questions, go play. Its insane when you cannot even have your own thoughts, sometimes I just have to block her out so I can just figure out what Im doing. May sound mean, but I deserve to hear myself think too.

This is actually VERY common for their age. I wouldnt consider it rude, you just have to control it a little.

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answers from Nashville on

You will have to learn to tune her out. Lol. I have mastered this... I tune her out, and every few minutes (Or if her tone of voice changes) I will listen for a couple seconds, then make an offhand comment about that. so Kiddo is saying "blah blah blah blah blah then Suzie jumped off the swing! blah blah blah" I reply with "how far did Suzie go?" to which kiddo responds "BLAH! Blah blah blah blah blah."

Lol. You do need to listen to her when she's really talking... but if she's just babling on about nothing, tuning out is the best bet. Once in a while I will send the kids outside when I need peace and quiet... or I will get them set up doing a quiet activity ("why don't you go read this book?")

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answers from New York on

My 5 year old is the same way! sometimes I do have to tell him I can't listen right now because I am busy (driving or whatever). Sometimes I tune out partly. I also will allow him up to an hour of computer time to play games (educational on a good day). Between pre-K in the morning and a break in the afternoon I can usually keep my sanity most days. On an especially bad day he may get to watch a kids movie (with popcorn). Also, with mine he sometimes just wants company and will play mostly independently while I am doing another chore in the same room (and I don't feel that bad tuning out big chunks of his Lego/Superhero adventures). On the other hand it helps to set aside at least a few times during the day that you are listening (bedtime and mealtime are good).

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answers from Honolulu on

I posted a question like this, about my 4 year old!

My son, is a continuous talker.
Not just about nonsense either.
He's got some great ideas in his head.
But talks so much.
He was speech delayed when younger.
After that, he has become the MOST talkative one in our family!

Today he was asking about Tornadoes. Like he heard on the news. He wanted to know what it feels like, how tall it is, how strong it is, what happens if 2 tornadoes bump into each other, how come it is that color, how does it know where to go etc.

I want to scream at the end of the day too.
My ears, get overly stimulated.
I go nuts.
My glass, gets over full.

But, there are times, he is quiet. And he is independent and self-reliant. Just talks... SO much.
Even in his sleep, he talks and make noises.

But, I don't try to stifle his talking/thoughts.
Narrow fence, to walk on.

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answers from Miami on

lol. I could have written this question!!! Don't have any answers for you but will enjoy reading the responses you get. I do work though so I get a break then. :-)
I gave my mom and dad a laugh the other day though. They asked me does my dd talk from the moment she wakes till she goes to bed. I was like "YES" She usually pops through to my bed at some point during the night and at the weekend we have a little lie-in. Well if I want to see what time it is I have to be REALLY discreet and sneak a peek at the clock. Well one morning there I am sneaking-the-peek, and she caught me, she had been staring at me the whole time waiting on me opening my eyes!! She says "OK MOM, I HAVE 10 QUESTIONS FOR YOU" aaaahhhhh, can you give me 5 minutes to get the sleep out my eyes!!!. It was pretty funny. :-)

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answers from New York on

My 4 1/2 year old is the same way. I find ways for her to wind down such as sitting down and doing art (she doesn't like plain old coloring, she likes cutting and gluing and glitter so we have all the supplies on hand, and she really calms down sitting and doing that stuff. Another way is having her play outside, and also doing activity books that are age appropriate. And you can speak to her about her talking in a nice way, that she needs to sit down and wind down sometimes...good luck.

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answers from Phoenix on

I have told mine that I need quiet time because my ears hurt. You try watching a movie with her on a portable DVD player that requires headphones? Tell her when the headphones are on it's "no talking time". Take her out for walks to look for birds or other animals and tell her that talking with scare them away.
I know it must be making you nuts some days, but try to remember when you couldn't wait for her to start talking (I know, what were we thinking??) and also, she will be in school all day in about four months, then you will actually have days when you miss the chatter. :)

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answers from Chicago on

My 7-yr old is the same way. He is inquisitive and wants to know everything, therefore is constantly asking questions (some are completely ridiculous and have nothing to do with anything), but some are really good. Sometimes he waits for the answer, sometimes he plows right ahead into his next thought. It makes me crazy. And it's so nice and quiet after he's in bed.

All that being said, we have repeatedly been told by his teachers that he is one of the brightest, sharpest, wittiest kids in class! Why? Because we always answered his questions, added to his suggestions, helped him think ideas through, listened to his stories with interest (even if it was feigned)--we interacted with him, rather than just ignoring it in the hopes that it would go away.

So, what starts out as merely chatter can turn into the next invention for some sub-space capsule that can go to Uranus in 50 seconds where a new colony can be developed where people can do whatever it is that he came up with today. These little minds can be incredible!

So, I do a lot of "Mmmm hmmmm" and "ohhhhh" with a little "and then what?" or "what would happen if..." or even "how would that work?" thrown in to keep his mind working. If I can't make him be quiet, the least I can do is harness it into something useful.

Good luck to you! I know that pain you feel. And yes, there have definitely been times when we've had competitions to see who could stay quiet the longest--I usually win :)



answers from Minneapolis on

My 6 year old is the same way - she has also never met a stranger - I can't take her to target without her meeting and carrying on conversations with at least 5 strangers. I'm trying to work with her on not approaching and starting conversations with strangers because it's dangerous (and I know she'd go anywhere with anyone), I'm trying to teach her safety without scaring her. At home sometimes, I tell her M. needs quiet time, so it's time to find something to do by ourselves, which means she can sit with me and read books, or color or go to her room and watch a movie, etc. Sometimes I can get 30-40 mins of peace which is enough - haha. My older one never talked and still doesn't talk much, so I don't want to stiffle her, but it does get on your nerves - haha.



answers from Rockford on

I was a chatterbox when I was little too. My dad got me a tape recorder and I loved to use it! I would tell stories, sing songs, interview my toys, etc. It gave my mom some non-conversation time and I had a ball with it.


answers from Hartford on

Please savor this. When she's a teenager you'll be begging her to talk to you.



answers from St. Louis on

I wouldn't do it at age 6....please don't stifle her thought processes & her need to share! The pre-teen years are just around the corner & you'll miss her chatter.

BUT when my son was older....about 10-12....I finally devised a method which works for us. Occasionally, when he has something important to tell me about his gaming/cars/etc......then he has to listen to me talk about an antique! It's our trade-off of sharing information......& it works. I calmly listen to him....& then I start in on my tale.....& within about 2 sentences, he's laughing & mimicing me! We don't do this everytime....but enough that it's a fun joke & it draws his attention to the fact that he's oversharing on his hobbies.

What I like about this method is that it's fun & it never hurts his feelings. I try to be very selective when I do it.....& sometimes he even initiates it if I'm on a roll!



answers from Chicago on

This kind of breaks my heart. I have an 11 yr old son with Angelman Syndrome who is unable to speak. I would love to hear him talk all day...

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