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 Post subject: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen"
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:19 am 
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Huffs Nutritional Yeast
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My 7yo is very extroverted, makes friends easily, and will chat away to anyone and everyone. For the past three years that she's been in school and in her aftercare program, we've gotten weekly--if not daily--notes home about her "excessive talking" and "inability to listen" (from multiple teachers; not just one). Over the summer, at camp, she got others in trouble with her talking, and she missed instructions, even to the point of nearly getting left behind on the bus. We've tried things like early bedtimes, no treats, taking away things like TV time, etc., but nothing has helped. I met with her school counselor, and she said that she doesn't believe that she is motivated by external things, like being responsive to those in authority, so motivating her to cease chatting and to listen more will be difficult. She also pointed out that she is an only child, and engages in most of her social needs at school.

Has anyone else experienced this with their children? Were you this child? Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:50 am 
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I was this child in kindergarten! When I was still an only child! I think my mother still has a note describing me as overtly in other people's business, pushy, unable to stop talking.

Anyone who knows me now as the introverted, would-rather-not-even-talk, judgmental mustard off in the corner would probably choke on their lunch to read it. Goes to show you, I suppose.

As a teacher, I would think about what kind of behaviour i could have her use instead of chatting, since talking is an instantaneous kind of have-to-do-it activity. Something she could be caught doing and rewarded for (instead of punishing her for talking, rewarding her for keeping quiet and doing something else). Let me think a little more about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:47 am 
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Just thinking about the How to Talk so Kids Will Listen book, have you tried asking her for ideas?

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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:51 am 
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I'd ask her for ideas for sure. Come up with alternatives to talking or tricks to help her build impulse control (like write down what she wants to say and save it for a designated time).

Also, she has to work on her own motivation for getting things done, so helping her identify her goals and what kinds of behaviors would lead to achieving them would help - if she wants to learn, she has to complete assignments and hear the directions, for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:52 am 
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***LIES!!!***
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And the harshest "punishment" I'd use is separating her from the kids she talks to the most, and even then, not for the whole day.


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:50 pm 
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This was me as a kid, and I see this train coming down the track for one of my kids.

In my case, the home response was some fairly harsh negativity towards my social qualities-- which contributed to me becoming extremely withdrawn in my mid to late school years. As an adult I am still pretty introverted and deal with a lot of social anxiety, much of which revolves around "am I talking too much, am I talking more than others, am I missing cues for turns in talking, etc etc". Who knows what portion of this I would have developed anyway though!

With my own kid, I try to stress some things with him: give people time and space to respond to things, listen to what other people say before you respond, never interrupt, etc. Still see it as somewhat of an issue with him, but we do our best.

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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:26 am 
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I know a few people who have only children who are like this. What has helped them the most is play dates. Lots and lots of play dates with their classmates. They are used to being the center of attention at home and they aren't that at school so are desperately trying to keep that up at school by talking to EVERYONE and getting in everyone's business...etc... My one friend had a play date at least once a week for her daughter and it helped tremendously. Her teachers noticed a big difference after a few weeks.

Your daughter might do well taking an Acting class also! My daughter is the opposite of yours she does her "excessive talking and inability to listen" at home. It drives me bat shiitake crazy..with it being the end of summer and having to listen to her talk non stop all summer I've been yelling at her A LOT..I feel bad...anyway, I plopped her in an Acting class last school year with some of her friends and it was great. She got a lot of that need to talk and be crazy energy out in that class.

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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:35 am 
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Thank you very much for this advice and insight. I've requested the 'How to Talk' book through my local library, and I am going to ask if it's acceptable for her to have things to do with her hands, like a friendship bracelet she can keep in her pocket, or something that she can quietly work on, while she waits. During class time, I am going to see if it is okay if she has other work to do, or a book to read, or a notebook that she can keep with her where she can write down the things that she wants to talk about.

I really love that she's such an extrovert. Both my husband and I are such introverts, and I love how she's such a friendly, outgoing kid. I don't want to squelch that! I am going to have to think on activities that we can do outside of school that offer her a chance to be social. She hasn't shown an interest in sports, and they don't have enough kids for Brownies/Girl Scouts in our area.

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:34 am 
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I was this kid. From kindergarten through high school, every single report card had at least one comment that I talk too much. Something to help her if she is bored might be good. I know I pay attention better when I doodle, but everyone assumed that if I was doodling I wasn't paying attention, so I wasn't allowed. I didn't talk in class in college. Is that because I matured or was finally allowed to doodle to my heart's content? I don't know. Maybe my courses were more interesting.

Ultimately, my solution was to find a job where I talk to people for a living. :) So I never stopped talking too much, I just found a way to make money with that skill.

My 5 year old is about to start Kinder, and he is going to be that kid. He never stops talking, ever. He narrates his life. The other day in the car he spoke for nearly 10 minutes about the intricacies of traffic signals. My daughter barely speaks at all, and I think my son sees it as his mission to speak all of his words and all of hers. I know I am going to get notes home, and I don't know what I am going to do about it besides laugh and steer him towards a career that involves talking.


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:52 pm 
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TheKillingMoon wrote:
I really love that she's such an extrovert. Both my husband and I are such introverts, and I love how she's such a friendly, outgoing kid. I don't want to squelch that! I am going to have to think on activities that we can do outside of school that offer her a chance to be social. She hasn't shown an interest in sports, and they don't have enough kids for Brownies/Girl Scouts in our area.


This thread is making me laugh with all the comments about being driven batshit crazy from their kids' incessant chatter. My husband and I are both also big introverts and I find it absolutely bananas how much my daughter loves to talk and engage with other people, often total strangers. I feel like part of this really has to do with the fact that she's an only child and we are basically her sole companions and so she's often desperate for outside contact.

My best friend (now in her 30s) still remembers when her first-grade teacher made an off-hand remark about how much she really liked to talk (in a negative way), and how much that sole comment impacted her confidence in being able to speak up. That's the thing that I'm most worried about with my daughter (maybe you are too, TKM?)--that she'll be inadvertently bullied into the "nice girls are quiet" camp.

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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:22 am 
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I think my son is a bit like this, and I think it's because he's an only child so he's kind of desperate to meet all of his social needs at school. He goes swimming and trampolining and I try to arrange at least one playdate per week... I don't know if it's having any kind of effect though. It is nice for him to socialise with other kids though... Takes some of the pressure off me and my partner!


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:31 am 
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OMG, TheKillingMoon, your kid has got to meet my 7yo, Beetroot. They are two peas in a pod! I am always worried people will think it's because we homeschool, but Beetroot just loves to talk to everyone as much as he can. One time this lady on the bus joked, "don't your parents talk to you at home?" because he talked the whole time (the bus takes an hour, by the way).

And he's not an only child, so siblings aren't a magical solution to the chatterbox dilemma. ;D

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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:05 am 
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I'd be worried less about punishing or taking away privileges. I think most neuro-typical kids want to do well and will do well if they can. Punishment doesn't really help give kids the tools to do better. If it did, she would have already changed her behavior.

So, maybe look at it less like your kid's not listening and more like "how can I help my child develop the skills they need to succeed?" I'd start by talking to my kid about it. "Hey, so your counselor sent a note home that says x. Can you tell me about what happened today?" And then listen. Find out what happened from your kids perspective. Was she bored? Was she in the middle of a super interesting conversation? You might need to prompt with things like, "then what" or "did you notice," etc. Try not to discount your child's perspectives or feelings. Use phrases like, "you felt" or "i can see how." It might help you get a better handle on what skills she might be missing.

Then you can help her find some strategies to help her fit in better with classroom culture. Maybe it's something easy like a bracelet she can fidget with. Maybe you can come up with a cue of some sort. Maybe you can find opportunities to practice some of those skills. Look at it less as a "behavior issue" and more as "this thing we need to troubleshoot."

And be patient. Sometimes kids grow out of these things with time and maturity. Sometimes they don't. It's not likely to be instant and sometimes solving one thing will bring up something else. There might even be days that it seems like no progress (or backwards progress) is made. Just keep reminding yourself that kids do better when they can.


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:12 am 
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birdsonawire wrote:
My best friend (now in her 30s) still remembers when her first-grade teacher made an off-hand remark about how much she really liked to talk (in a negative way), and how much that sole comment impacted her confidence in being able to speak up. That's the thing that I'm most worried about with my daughter (maybe you are too, TKM?)--that she'll be inadvertently bullied into the "nice girls are quiet" camp.


Yes! I love that she's such an extrovert, that she loves chatting folks up, and I hope she'll never be discouraged from it or grow out of it. I don't want to handle these notes home poorly, because I see this is part of who she is; not a phase that she'll grow out of (or maybe it is, and that's fine, too).

Backstory: I was very, very shy as a child, and that, coupled with my introversion, made for lots of difficult situations. It wasn't really a problem at school, in terms of problems with teachers, but it made making friends or engaging in any social interactions with strangers difficult. My parents made me feel like it was a character flaw, and still do, in some ways (telling me that I was "weird," and to "stop being a wallflower"). To this day, I feel uncomfortable in groups or when meeting new people, because I'm afraid of messing up.

So, all of that to say, that I don't want her to quit engaging the outside world, and being her amazing, wonderful self.


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:21 am 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
OMG, TheKillingMoon, your kid has got to meet my 7yo, Beetroot. They are two peas in a pod! I am always worried people will think it's because we homeschool, but Beetroot just loves to talk to everyone as much as he can. One time this lady on the bus joked, "don't your parents talk to you at home?" because he talked the whole time (the bus takes an hour, by the way).

And he's not an only child, so siblings aren't a magical solution to the chatterbox dilemma. ;D


Hahaha! Yes! I love the "don't your parents talk to you at home?" line ;)

The other evening, my daughter was chatting away in the backseat, and stopped to say, "Are you listening, Mom?" and I thought, but didn't say, of course, "Yes, honey, all the time." ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:23 am 
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jlm1075 wrote:
I'd be worried less about punishing or taking away privileges. I think most neuro-typical kids want to do well and will do well if they can. Punishment doesn't really help give kids the tools to do better. If it did, she would have already changed her behavior.

So, maybe look at it less like your kid's not listening and more like "how can I help my child develop the skills they need to succeed?" I'd start by talking to my kid about it. "Hey, so your counselor sent a note home that says x. Can you tell me about what happened today?" And then listen. Find out what happened from your kids perspective. Was she bored? Was she in the middle of a super interesting conversation? You might need to prompt with things like, "then what" or "did you notice," etc. Try not to discount your child's perspectives or feelings. Use phrases like, "you felt" or "i can see how." It might help you get a better handle on what skills she might be missing.

Then you can help her find some strategies to help her fit in better with classroom culture. Maybe it's something easy like a bracelet she can fidget with. Maybe you can come up with a cue of some sort. Maybe you can find opportunities to practice some of those skills. Look at it less as a "behavior issue" and more as "this thing we need to troubleshoot."

And be patient. Sometimes kids grow out of these things with time and maturity. Sometimes they don't. It's not likely to be instant and sometimes solving one thing will bring up something else. There might even be days that it seems like no progress (or backwards progress) is made. Just keep reminding yourself that kids do better when they can.


Thank you very much for all of this. I'm copying and pasting this entire thread for my husband to read. I think I automatically veer toward "OH NO!" when we get notes home, because I'm very much a rule-follower, and someone who defers to anyone in a position of authority, even if it's my child's teacher. I need to take a step back and breathe! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:00 pm 
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TheKillingMoon wrote:
Thank you very much for all of this. I'm copying and pasting this entire thread for my husband to read. I think I automatically veer toward "OH NO!" when we get notes home, because I'm very much a rule-follower, and someone who defers to anyone in a position of authority, even if it's my child's teacher. I need to take a step back and breathe! :)

I can understand and relate to that. Maybe think of yourself less as the person who needs to follow the authority (in this case, the teacher or camp counselor, or whatever) and instead as your kids' advocate/representative. Her union rep? Her attorney? The go-between? Pick whichever one resonates the most with you.

Remember, teachers are people too. They have all sorts of expectations and issues they're dealing with. Your only responsibility is to look out for your kid. They offer you feedback. That's all it is, feedback. Your job then is to try and come up with a solution that works for both your child and the class/camp. You can ask for suggestions. You can offer solutions. They might be game, they might not. So ask. And ask again. And keep asking. If you can't come to a reasonable solution then go higher up. It's about standing up for your kid and helping them navigate the wider world. And isn't your kid lucky to have you to help!

Teachers/counselors are humans. Sometimes their expectations are realistic, sometimes they're not. Keep that in mind. So, think of it like a negotiation. You hear from the teacher. A perfectly reasonable response could be, "I hear what you're saying. I want to talk with my kid about what happened and I'll get back to you." You talk to your kid and listen to what they have to say. Involve them in brainstorming solutions. You go back to the teacher. Clarify the issue. Was their impression right? If not, what details might be germane to the conversation? Then it's time to work together on a solution. What if we... Could we... You might go back and forth a little. Any teacher/counselor worth their salt is going to know that this isn't going to change overnight. It's absolutely goig to be a process, but there's no need to panic punish.

And remind yourself (often) that your kid wants to do better. No one likes getting in trouble. She's most likely not doing it on purpose (at least not with any malice behind it). She's a kid.

Oh, and books are good - both for you and for your kid. There are lots of really great picture books out there on helping kids with any number of social issues like learning to listen. This list has most of my favorites - http://www.parents.com/fun/entertainmen ... listening/

These books aren't directly related to listening in a classroom, but instead on developing your listening "muscles" as it were. Working on listening outside of class and paying greater attention to the world around you is a good way to practice for fun. It takes the pressure off - http://wfae.proscenia.net/library/artic ... listen.pdf

Here's a Pinterest board with lots of good ideas on developing listening skills. Some are specific to classrooms, but could be adapted to be done at home - https://www.pinterest.com/funwithfluff/ ... ng-skills/

You might also want to consider working on mindfulness together. Susan Kaiser Greenland and Zoe Weil have mindfulness related resources for parents to help teach their children.

ETA: oh, and I should add that sometimes when you try to get your kid to help you brainstorm solutions, they'll answer, "I don't know" or "I can't think of any." Take a deep breath. It's annoying as all get out. You could try taking a break and ask them to think about it. Make a plan to meet back at a specific date and time. Sometimes kids can think better if they have time to mull it over and don't feel so on the spot.

And sometimes they'll keep saying, "I don't know." At that point I usually just start throwing things out there and seeing what sticks. It can be a long process and usually involves a lot of talking...so much talking... ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:46 pm 
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I had to log in and reply to this. I had such a hard time going from pre-school, which was all about constant interaction and talking, to first grade. I talked constantly and got all the little notes home too.

What helped me was my dad teaching me how to be a student, really. He gave me a bunch of special mechanical pencils and other school supplies and he spent time helping me understand the academic work we were doing, especially the math. That refocused me, I think, from "this is playtime" to "this is school." All kids love to learn and want to learn -- if that desire isn't smashed out of them -- so school became a place where I was learning cool stuff, not just interacting with other kids. I naturally started paying attention and focusing on the teachers.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Notes Home: "Excessive talking" and "Inability to listen
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:04 pm 
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So much to consider! Thank you for all of these responses. We're actually home from school this week because (drumroll) head lice. UGH. Never had it, and having to go through a professional service. We're having lots of chats about not resting in the cozy corner at school on the pillows, and not giving head-to-head hugs with your friends. Sigh.


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