Talk Too Much in School. WHAT CAN I DO?????????

Updated on January 14, 2011
A.L. asks from Oakland, CA
24 answers

My son is in 1st grade and already his teacher want to talk with me. I already know what the problem is, "He talk in class and not listening to the teacher". He have that problem in Kindergarten also. I remind him everyday to not talk in class and listen to the teacher. I try time out, take his favor toys away, no TV, but nothing work. WHAT CAN I DO??????? I need advice, lot of advice.

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answers from Seattle on

Ditto... I wouldn't punish him either. It's happening in class, it needs to be DEALT with in class. Staying quiet and listening is a learned skill. And it's one that needs to be taught IN the environment that it's used in.

Another thing to consider: When my son was in school we made a deal... He would NOT get in trouble twice. Period. That way he could feel free to talk with me about *anything* that happened, have a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to bend, or be able to ask for advice without being afraid of being punished for something that he'd already been punished for. We called it Double Jeopardy. Once my son got that I was serious about not getting him in trouble twice, he REALLY started to share/confide with me. It was SO soooo useful.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I had this problem in 1st grade too! My parents and teacher came up with a little thing that I had to do if I was talking. Everyday, my teacher would put a piece of tape on my desk and everytime I talked when I wasn't supposed to, she would ask me to put a mark on the tape. I had to take the tape home at the end of the day to show my parents...I didn't want any marks on that tape, so eventually, we didn't have to do it anymore! It worked for me...

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

It is hard to discipline hours after the problem. Have him practice being quiet with you at the library, movies, church. or... Make sure he learns NEVER to interrupt adults (in school we raise quiet hands, other places we say excuse me and then wait quietly for our turn to talk) He should have learned this in already, if you're sure what the problem is than this is obviously a problem at home. Play games with him and he can practice waiting for his turn and listening to directions.
Ask questions when you meet the teacher, don't assume you know exactly what she'll say. Are there other problems, is he immature, can he take turns or is he always impulsive? For instance does he grab things before they are passed out? Does he just chatter with friends or does he call out the answers to questions. does he call out wrong answers without thinking it thru or only call out when he really knows the answer? Does it seem like he isn't listening but then he knows what she said? Does he do better one on one. Don't feel foolish taking a list of questions to a conference and taking notes, it will be more productive and the teacher will appreciate how seriously you're taking the problem. Good luck.
Try getting up 10 minutes earlier to have more time to let him talk in the morning? Maybe 10 minutes before school where its his turn to talk would help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have to kind of laugh at this ...sorry. My daughter was a straight + student in First Grade. Her first report card home a blinding / appeared. It stuck out like a sore thumb. Of course it was for excessive talking. Her dad looked at the report card first and told her to bring it to me to look at (I was sick in bed w/ the flu) as soon as I saw it I started laughing. I couldn't help it. That was me when I was her age. I was in trouble all of the time for talking. My teachers would put me next to boys..didn't matter I would talk. I always had something to say to someone. I had lots of friends! lol The biggest thing is that he needs to understand that he cannot talk when the teacher is talking. He also needs to understand when HE CAN talk. You & his teacher need to tell him the times that's it's okay to talk. If he is a talker, he will never be able to be quiet all day long. Telling a talker that they need to stop talking is not the answer. He needs his time to talk...hopefully the teacher will understand this and let him have a minute to get whatever it is that he needs to say out of his system. You can help out by letting him talk your ear off when he gets home from school but then giving him times when he has to be quiet (like while he is eating dinner/breakfast). Most classrooms by 1st grade have a behavior system in place. If his teacher does not, it might be a good time for her to start. He should only get 2 chances to be quiet and then the 3rd time he talks when he is not suppose to, there needs to be a consequence. Same thing goes at home. Bottom line is he needs to talk if he is a talker, he just needs to understand that there is a time when it's okay and a time when it's not okay. A general do not talk in class is not going to work. You need to be more specific. :) Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The teacher has to figure that out... She has to make sure that he is in a good spot in the classroom - even if it is right next to her desk. She needs to place him in a spot where he can't talk to his friends, but still feels like part of the class.
Many kids can't talk if you make them sit on their hands... It's a funny thing, but it often works. I've had chatty kids in my class and have told them to sit on their hand (the one they don't write with) and to be quiet. Somehow it seems to work - especially if they have to write as well. It takes a lot of concentration...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter just started 4th grade and we've had the same problem every year! i'm hoping she'll be more mature this year and grow out of it but it seems like some kids are just little social butterfies! i've taken privileges away also and sometimes it works at first but then it doesn't. Try explaining that there is a time and a place for socializing and playing, which is at recess. In the classroom it's time for listening and paying attention. I take away my daughter's mp3 player because i know it's something she'll really miss. If toys and TV aren't working try something else he really loves. Maybe a dessert or favorite candy? Or instead of focusing on the negative consequences try making it positive: if he behaves in school for the week you'll take him for ice cream, or he can pick out a favorite (inexpensive) toy.
I know some parents might say you shoudn't have to reward good behavior all the time, but when you're at your wit's end, you'll do what works! I wish i had the solution, but that's about the only advice i can give. Hope this helps, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'm taking a shot in the dark since I have no experience in this (besides me being a talker and getting in trouble many times in school) but have you tried role playing? Or even calling him on it if he interrupts you while you are talking? I wish i could give you some advice since my talkativeness is an issue for me at 34. If I have a caffeinated beverage people will literally cancel outings with me because I talk THAT much! It's nothing I can control even though I try SO hard.
Best of luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Show up once in a while. I'm sure the teacher would love volunteers and it would help your son to know you can be there any time without him knowing. Make sure to let the teacher do her job (discipline) while you are in her classroom, but back her ALL THE WAY.

This way your son will know that you support his teacher.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You need to tell him that if he does not stop talking in class that you will make arrangements with his teacher so YOU can come in and sit in class with him to see how he acts.... better yet just show up to his classroom. He's not gonna want his friends to see his mom in class with him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Try listening to what the teacher wants to do. You deal with him at home, and she does it at school. Support her, but let her do what she thinks will work and answer her questions about your son, because she may have some.

6 year olds are naturally impulsive. He may not be able to stop this impulse and you need to let the teacher help you sort out when this is just a difficulty that he can work out and improve, or if the issue is something that he needs help to improve. When you have tried everything, and nothing typical has helped, it is time to start thinking in terms of a barrier to him being able to participate in typical activities that keeps him from applying what he knows about right and wrong to himself.

What ever she wants to try, ask the teacher to document the strategy so that she can present it to an Intervention Assistance Team if it does not help him.

He really wants to do what you want him to do. I bet if he could, he would have already.

Good luck, there is help out there, let your teacher be your first step.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I had the same problem with my son. In Kinder he talk too much and he had good grades. I took away everything from him. I mean everything and he realize that the talking in class was acceptable. It did get better, I had the teacher provide me with a daily report. In 1st grade he started the talking again. Not as bad as in Kinder but there was several occasion that the teachers send a note home. The teacher from 1st grade requested an evaluation for him and recommended that he be consider for gifted program. I think this was the problem he was bored. He scored super high and was approved for Global Gifted Program. He just started school and the teachers are so please with him. He does not have time to talk.... But I do have to admit he is very sociable and talkative. This is his personality and I will not and will not change this...



answers from San Francisco on

I did not read through all the answers, so I apologize if this is a repeat, but I was the kid with straight A's and C's in conduct throughout elementary school. I was an outgoing kid by nature and would get absolutely BORED in class. When given work to do at our desks, I would finish way before anybody else and not be able to handle sitting there for a long time doing nothing. At some point this was figured out and the teacher had "extra" work that I could do when this would occur. It started out as worksheets and coloring to writing sentences and stories as I got older. Once I got to middle school, there was a gifted program that I was able to participate in and did not have those problems.

I would buy an appropriate workbook that you can give to the teacher for your son if this seems to be the case.

Good Luck!



answers from San Francisco on

I am going to echo the idea that he is bored in class. My sister was the same way, and it was just because she didn't have enough to keep her busy. She spent a lot of time in the hall in elementary school, but ended up high school valedictorian. Some teachers just couldn't handle her, and their only solution was punishment. Others figured the problem out and just kept her really busy, and she excelled.



answers from San Francisco on

My granddaughter had the same problem so we would practice at home. she had to sit in the living room where there was other people and activity and she was not allowed to talk for say ten minutes. She learned that she cannot always verbalize every thought she had and sometimes she just had to keep her mouth shut and wait for an appropriate time to speak. Also, you can try playing school with him. Practice makes progress!


answers from Dallas on

I would not punish him. He is probably unable to control himself. I would offer him a reward each day. Something you know he will want. A star, a praise, a cookie, a favorite t.v. show to watch. Try to reinforce with positive things.

Plus, if the teacher must punish him that is one thing, but home should be a safe place where he gets sympathy. Don't add to his frustration at being unable to control himself.

Your son may have attention issues. Help him eat a balanced diet and get good vitamins. When possible choose smaller classrooms and avoid putting him in a situation where he will be doomed to fail. He is still just a little boy.

Volunteer at the school and get on the teachers good side. Chances are she will go easier on your son if she likes you.



answers from Sacramento on

If your son has a problem with impulse control (possibly due to ADHD), no amount of punishment /consequences will make a difference because he really can't help it. It is the way his brain is wired. If he is diagnosed There are ways to deal with this with and without medication. Most parents like to try without medication and there are lots of dietary changes you can try including removing gluten and/or dairy from his diet. That's another conversation though! I've been through it so let me know if you want more info. :) For now, you might want to try lots of reminders when he is at home and interrupts you. It is really hard to be patient but if you work on it, you can replace his old behavior of talking over you/the teacher with the new behavior of waiting his turn or raising his hand. Ask him to stop and think each time before he talks. Maybe he can count to three or take a deep breath and wait to be called on. At his age, it is probably really hard for him to listen and take in what his teacher is saying because he is so excited about what he wants to say next. This is a hard habit to break. :) It won't change completely but it can improve! Again, the punishments don't usually work--Try to replace the old behavior with a new, DESIRED behavior. If you want to look into the diet change sometime, let me know. Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

A child in my son's 1st grade class had the same problem last year. The plan that ended up working for him was pennies! The mom would gave the teacher a bag full of pennies (and continued through the year to fill the bag as needed). In the morning, the teacher would give the child 5 pennies to put in his pocket. Throughout the day, if he had a behavior problem, she would ask him for 1 of the pennies back. When he got home from school, he would show his mom how many pennies he had left and would be able to keep them and put them in his piggy bank. He was excited to be "earning" money, so his behavior improved. It also gave his mom instant feedback as to how well her child behaved each day.



answers from Redding on

The first thing is that he's just being a normal six year old. All people are different and children are no exception. Typically, boys mature a little later than girls and generally speaking they have a lot of energy and aggression (not violence) that really shouldn't be discouraged, just directed properly. Try to be very patient with him and do a lot of explaining to him in a way that you would like to have things explained to you. Keep asking him if he was able to listen in class today and not talk except when he was supposed to. Try rewarding him for the days he's successful instead of punishing him. Children are just like us. They make mistakes like us and they enjoy feeling reward when they are successful in something--just like us. Children who grow up with a lot of understanding and patience, turn out to be understanding and patient adults. That doesn't mean they should not be corrected when they do something wrong. It just means you shouldn't make them feel like they are a bad person. Most adults do not behave perfectly all the time. Just keep correcting him and offer some kind of reward for success. You could also take sugar and artificial flavorings and colorings out of his diet. That makes a huge difference in a lot of children. One little treat a day in his lunch box shouldn't hurt, but remember, sugar is a stimulant, it also makes it harder to concentrate, but is still better than the artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame or nutrasweet. Give him protein for breakfast, like scrambled eggs, and that should help a little also if he's not getting that now. Don't put him on ADD drugs. That's horrible. I had one just like that and I just talked to him a lot about being polite to the teacher and other people, but never made him feel stupid or bad. I told him how lucky he was to have so much energy and that God made everyone different. Some have very little energy and some have a lot. But the ones with a lot of energy have to learn to control it because it can make other people nervous in a house and talking when a teacher or anyone is speaking is considered bad manners. I told him that I understood, but I would help him learn how to control this. I continued to be very patient with him, but never let him do wrong without being corrected. I really never punished. He turned out to be the nicest kid and everyone loves him. You need to be the one he can always count on to be understanding, or at least not angry with him, even when you have to tell him he's done something he shouldn't. Try some of these things and I think you'll find they will help. I used to think when my children were doing something that concerned me, if they were doing the same thing next year at this time, then I would worry. You can pretty well figure that most things kids go through are just stages, and they will be into a new stage by a year later. Hope this helps.



answers from San Francisco on

I wouldn"t tell him to not talk I would tell him if he listens to the teacher really good you have a surprise for him at the end of the week take him somewhere special. Try that.

Good luck


answers from Austin on

My son has always had this problem. However, in his case it is extreme because he has Aspergers/ADHD. He has had an aide with him since kindergarten to redirect him and get him back on task. If he becomes too loud or disruptive, the aide can take him to the back of the room, or out of the room to work one-on-one, or do something more physical like shelve books in the library. Sometimes his talking was worse when he was tired, hungry, or needed to go to the bathroom. I would get a daily report of his behavior, and there were immediate consequences, such as not getting a sticker, or the teacher would tell him he would lose tv time at home.
Halfway through 2nd grade, my son was still ending up in the principals office for hours at a time, so we started him on ADHD meds. It made a big difference for him. He is controlling his impulses better, and a lot of the talking, singing, humming, etc. disappears.



answers from Chico on

Hi A.!

Sorry you are having problems with your son's behavior in school! It's completely normal for him to rather talk to friends than listen to the teacher. I would recommend that you NOT punish him with time outs, take away toys, or take privileges like the TV away. He is already getting in trouble at school and if he gets in double trouble it could backfire on you and you could end up with a kids who hates school AND acts out against your authority at home. Continue to remind him how he should be acting, but do it when he is in a comfortable mood and use your kindest matter of fact voice. TRY not to let your anger/frustration/negative feelings into your voice. Remind him that he has recess time to talk with his friends.

When you go talk to his teacher, find out if he listens when she has his attention (to make sure it isn't a physical hearing problem, which is unlikely), and try to find out what the classroom atmosphere is like when she is talking. If it is noisy and chaotic, then few would be listening and maybe it isn't just your son having a problem. Also, find out if it is one particular child your boy is talking to all the time or if he just talks to anyone who will listen. If it's just one person, you can request that they not be seated next to each other. If it keeps up, you could take a day to sit in the classroom with your son (with the teacher's permission).

You could also try to arrange playdates with his classmates- meet at the park after school or invite friends over if you already know them- so that he has a social outlet to talk away!

Best of luck!



answers from San Francisco on

I've seen "pass the ball" work with teaching people when to talk and when to listen (maybe try it it home for small chunks of time). Whoever has the ball (or stuffed animal or other favorite item) is allowed to talk. Everyone else needs to listen. The person with the ball decides when he is done, and then can pass the ball to the person he wants to talk next.

I remember my daughters first grade teacher was good at being very specific with her students about when they could talk and when they couldn't. She would allow them to have quiet conversations at the desk clusters when doing some work. I think she used phrases like "use your 3 feet voice" and "your talking to the whole class now, so you can use your 20 feet voice"

If there is an aide in the class helping out some other students, maybe you can ask the teacher if he can help motivate your son to be a better listener. Maybe ask for a behavoir analysis.


answers from Modesto on

I used to put masking tape on my kids mouth for a minute or two to show them what "not talking" meant ;) .... worked wonders.
It's hard to teach listening skills to anyone that doesnt stop yacking or fidgeting. Lots of adults are the same way.
Sometimes having a child sit on their hands also helps them not to talk. My teacher did that to me in 2nd grade during the "reading circle" once. It only took the one time to teach me to pay attention from then on. Sometimes solutions are much more simple than we realize.



answers from New York on

me i'm talking to much in class and i been bother people
i dont listen to my teacher sometimes
i'm always in office
i dont do homework everyday
i dont do the classwork
cuz i'm lazy boy

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