I was on the floor, dressed as a super hero, playing with the three-year-old daughter of a friend of mine. The little girl is just like her Mom - crazy smart and kindhearted and has the most brilliant smile. So, we played as super heroes (and we of course saved the day). And then we pretended to go to the zoo and she gave me a tour of her room and she drew me some pictures.
And it was a wonderful reminder of what life was like with my son when he was that age. Thankfully, I knew to let her take the lead in every conversation.
When our babies are little all the parents you know will encourage you to talk to them. At first you may feel strange keeping up a running monologue with a baby, but after a while it becomes second nature. Eventually, you have to remind yourself that there is such a thing as internal dialogue when you find yourself out shopping alone for the first time in ages and realize that you have been talking aloud about the various kinds of cereal to yourself.
After children get a sense of words and sentences and then realize that they can participate in conversations, we have to remember to let go of the narrative: Children can be great at talking, but not so great at transitions. So, you will talk about school and the store and a game and an event that happened last Thursday and how their foot hurt a few months ago, all in the span of three sentences.
It's chaos. But, we need to meet them at their level and keep up the back-and-forth with them.
It's not always easy. It can be disorienting keeping track of a conversation with a three-year-old. Just keep in mind: It's not going to make sense, but it is going to be worth it.
Now that my son is seven (almost eight!), I can see the benefits of keeping up the back-and-forth dialogue with him. Does he still have a tendency to veer off topic? Yes, of course he does. But, is he getting better at his transitions into new topics? Absolutely. And he is also much better at giving space for other people to talk as well.
Does your child like to talk a lot or just the right amount? Tell me in the comments.