There are lots of reasons why a child might ask the same thing over and over. Understanding why can help you figure out what to do about it. Children may ask questions repetitively because
- Other people use lots of questions to interact with them.
- They have trouble saying what they want to say.
- They have trouble knowing how to get someone’s attention, or how to start or continue a conversation.
- They need to know the answer to the question. They may not remember the answer you have already given.
- They feel more secure when they hear the answer again, and it hasn’t changed.
- They feel more capable since the question itself lets them show their knowledge.
- They can avoid doing something else by asking this question!
We can help children not to ask the same thing over and over!
- Make lots of comments about what you see and do together, to model other ways of communicating.
- Teach your child to talk about more topics. Looking at photos together is a wonderful way of talking about a variety of topics.
- Use visual schedules and other visual supports to help your child feel secure.
- Remind them of the answer and then make a related comment.
- If they repeat excessively, tell them that they can only ask a question x number of times. After that you will ignore the question. Reduce the number gradually.
- Occasionally, repeat the question to give your child a chance to answer the question instead of asking it again.
- Do an activity together that makes it easy for your child to participate, such as a simple game with pictures to support their participation.
- If your child reads, write the answer on a paper. Then you can show them the answer if they ask again.
- Tell them that you already answered that question, “but we can talk about ____________.”
I hope this article was helpful! If you have concerns about your child’s speech or language, please contact a Speech-Language Pathologist. If you live in or near Winnipeg, we at SpeechWorks Inc. would be happy to help. Contact us today!