“My child gets home from school and literally does not stop talking or singing until bedtime. Is he not getting enough interaction or opportunity to get his energy out at school? Should we be concerned that he cannot be calm or quiet?”
One of the most fascinating aspects of parenting is how unique each child can be from the others. Whether you have one child or many, just being around different children makes you realize the uniqueness of each child. That being said, talkativeness is one of those characteristics that can vary quite a bit from child to child. This trait may be largely due to a child’s temperament, although it may also vary based on the setting. For example, children with a more extroverted, outgoing temperament often find it very easy to talk openly in many different settings.
In contrast, children with a more introverted or slow-to-warm-up temperament often find talking in public settings or with strangers challenging. The child in this question may have a more extroverted temperament and therefore finds talking a positive source of stimulation and engagement. It’s also possible that this child feels more comfortable talking at home in the comfort of familiar surroundings and with family. Perhaps they are quieter at school, and thus when they come home, they have a lot of “pent-up” talking.
As the parent points out in this question, excessive talking could also signify that a child does not have enough opportunities for social or verbal interaction during the day. If the child attends a school where talking with classmates is very limited, they could need additional outlets to meet their need for verbal interaction.
If you feel your child’s talkativeness is problematic (i.e., in school or other settings), you could work with the child on self-regulation skills to help them learn how to manage their impulse control related to talking. For example, at home, you could set up a “quiet time” for a few minutes each day in which everyone is expected to do quiet activities. For a child who enjoys talking, this could be pretty challenging. Starting with a small amount of quiet time and working up to longer stretches can help. Similarly, you could do activities as a family that require each person to be quiet for some aspect of the game or activity. Activities like listening to podcasts or audiobooks, playing games like the “quiet game,” and “hide and seek” are fun ways to foster self-regulation skills involving not talking.
Lastly, it is worth noting that if excessive talking impacts a child’s schoolwork or other aspects of life, it could be a sign of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While this is not the only characteristic of ADHD, it is helpful to speak to your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns.