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Dealing With a Chatterbox

It was adorable when your child learned her first few words ("Dolly!"), and just as sweet when she started stringing them together into brief phrases ("Want dolly!"). But it probably didn't prepare you for the talking jags she can sometimes go on now: "Mommy, I saw this dolly on TV and it can drink a real bottle and pee in a diaper and it's only fifteen dollars and can we go to the store and buy it...."

How'd your child get so chatty? "She's so happy she's mastered language, she wants to show it off," explains Michelle Maidenberg, Ph.D., a Westchester and Manhattan-based psychotherapist. But she hasn't learned the art of conversational give-and-take yet. The result: She doesn't come up for air very often!
Even though it's tempting to cut off the monologue, try to give a listen. Your little chatterbox will learn to keep it brief gradually, as much from her peers and teachers as from you. So for now, smile and nod to show you're tuned in, and ask her to expand on something interesting she mentions (which will cut down on the number of subject switches you'll be expected to follow). When she's finally through, thank her for sharing her stories. Then give her a hug -- sometimes she's looking for appreciation and reassurance that run deeper than words.

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