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Our daughter talks too much in class
Q: Our daughter is going into second grade this year and is very excited about going back to school! The problem is that she talks too much in class. Her first grade teacher sent home notes about her talking, but we dismissed it as her being too young to pay attention and keep quiet. What can we do to ensure that she won’t start off on the wrong foot this year?
A: Your daughter sounds like me when I was her age! I always wanted to answer all the questions and did not seem to understand that the teacher had to let other children answer some of them. You can be sure my parents got plenty of notes.

Probably the main thing you need to do is remind her that talking out was a problem last year, and that she doesn’t want it to happen again this year. Remind her that the teacher has to be involved with all the children, not just with her, and that she will make things hard for the teacher and the other children if she disrupts the class.

Then I would establish a reward system, probably using a chart. At the first of the year, give her a reward every day she comes home without a note from the teacher, or when you don’t get a call from the school. If you use a chart with checks, stars or smiley faces, give her a tangible reward after a certain number (maybe five). Then, after a while, increase the duration of time to an entire week without hearing from the teacher before putting a star on the chart.

Without seeming to take the teacher’s side, try to convince your daughter that her teacher is thinking of the whole class and that she is not just “picking on her.” Incidentally, we’re talking about behaviour that hasn’t occurred, simply a pattern you fear might repeat itself. To use a popular expression, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” In other words don’t remind her too much about last year. Hope and assume that the extra year of maturity will have helped, and that it won’t be a problem this year.