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How can I get my 3 year old to talk

I have anactive 3 year old with a strong vocabulary and strong social skills, but lately she has been testing us and her teachers by refusing to talk. She often will act quiet and refuse to talk with a somber look on her face. She points to things she wants and grunts to get them. As we ignore this behavior or do not reward her by giving her the things she wants unless she uses her words, she often becomes upset and cries or grunts, but will not talk. Once we convince her to talk, which can take a few minutes to several hours, she is back to her old self and laughs and talks to her friends and us as always. I have been a preschool teacher for several years and have not encountered this, so I am baffled. My assumption is that she is testing us, but it is just out of character for her to act like this. She is not overly shy. I think she may be tired as well, but takes long naps and gets plenty of sleep.

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YodaWesh

Asked by YodaWesh at 3:11 AM on Jun. 6, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 1 (0 Credits)
Answers (1)
  • If your munchkin has been receiving critical feedback about the 'right' way to talk or the 'right' things to talk about... or the opposite, she will find ways to exert her personal power. Feeling coerced always does that to people -- of all ages.

    She is not 'testing' you -- she hasn't got the brain capacity to do anything as nefarious as that. She still really believes that if she holds her breath she can make the rain stop... it's called magical thinking and she won't get over it for another 4 or 5 years. When she's about 18, she'll have all the brain parts it takes to be able to accurately predict other people's behaviour, form a plot, and do a risk assessment of her behaviour. Until then (and for a long time after the, about a lot of things) she will only be able to try to get her needs met:

    She needs to feel safe, to have your attention, to feel personal power, to feel free and to have fun. No testing here.
    LindaClement

    Answer by LindaClement at 3:30 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

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