Before I had my daughter (who is diagnosed ADHD), I didn’t even know that ‘hyperverbal’ was a real word. Now, I know ALL too well that it is very, very real. Most of the time my husband and I can laugh about it. But there are some days when I just find myself biting my tongue and clenching my jaw to keep from screaming “SHUT UP!!!” It’s not easy, but here are some tips to help a child that is hyperverbal.
(If this artical interest you, you might also enjoy, ADHD Calming Activities for You and Your Child )
Nothing stops my daughter in her tracks like being asked a question that makes her think about what she’s saying. This tactic is good for a few reasons. It:
- makes her mind slow down and process data rather than just race around in circles
- lets her know that I am listening even though I might be doing something else at the same time.
- helps her develop the skills to carry on a conversation. ADHD kids can’t always build these skills on their own because their brains work so differently from others.
This can be really hard because setting boundaries for an ADHD child is really about impulse control. And with an over-talkative child, you are walking a thin line. On one hand, we want our children to know we are interested in what they have to say. But on the other hand, when your kid has talked and talked and talked and talked nonstop until your head is pounding from the sound of their voice – well, you’ve got to do something or you’re going to snap. Then something bad is likely going to happen.
No Talk Zones
These are places your house, such as the bathroom, where your child is not allowed to talk thoughtlessly or incessantly. It can also be a time period when your child must keep a lid on the chatter such as during a favorite TV show or during story time before bedtime.
Since I work from home, my office is one of those no-talk zones during work hours. My daughter knows she’s not allowed to come into my office and start telling me about the new season of Pokemon or the hysterical youtube video she just watched. She is always welcome to come give me a hug, do a quick check-in with me if she wants to cook something on the stove, that sort of thing. But I am not willing to carry on a nonessential conversation with her or allow her to chatter while I’m working.
This is something I usually have to remind her of a couple of times per day. It is a work in progress and patience is key. I am careful to speak in a way that gets my point across without being mean-spirited or callous. When she starts rambling, my typical response is, “That’s great honey but I’m at work and I have to concentrate. You are welcome to hang out in here but I can’t carry on a conversation with you right now.”
Learning to Talk (to People)
It almost sounds crazy that you need to teach your kid to talk when you’re trying to get them to be quiet! But ADHD kids often have trouble talking to people. They miss social queues in conversations. Here are some techniques you can use to help your child learn to curb their impulses when trying to have a conversation.
We have guided conversations in my house. My husband, my daughter and I will talk around the dinner table. We take turns talking and asking questions. If she starts to take over the conversation, I will remind her to talk to us, not at us. That usually reigns her in so she can rejoin the conversation.
Encourage your child to paraphrase what they are being told, either out loud or in their head. This gives them the chance to get the focus off their thoughts and think about what the other person is saying. (We could all use some practice with that!)
Teach your child what to say when they start realizing they are monopolizing the conversation. Phrases like, “I’m sorry, I got carried away. What were you saying?” gives them the opportunity to apologize and re-enter the conversation smoothly.
When you see improvement, no matter how small, praise it. Your child is struggling to learn things most of us take for granted. They need to hear from us that they doing well and that we are proud of them. They probably won’t get that much needed praise anywhere else.
Children who have hyperverbal ADHD are a challenge. It is easy to get frustrated with them. But there are several things you, as parents, can do to help. By:
- Asking Questions
- Setting Boundaries
- Teaching them conversational techniques
You can help them learn to curb their impulse to talk excessively. And, also remember, hyperverbal tendencies in children tend to lessen as they get older, especially with training at home and sometimes therapy if needed. So just hang in there, give these tips a try and know that this WILL get better. I promise.