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2 min read

In hopes of making parenting a little less worrisome, we created the series - "Is this normal?"

In this series, our Infant and Toddler Montessori teacher of 15+ years, Katie, addresses common parenting concerns.

This week she's answering the question - Is it normal for kids to talk at home but not at school?

...or in front of relatives, out in public, etc.

The short answer - YES - this is incredibly common in the toddler years.

And the reason is simple. Children are usually much more comfortable at home compared to school or other situations when they're out of the house. For example, visiting relatives, at the grocery store talking to a cashier, or meeting someone new at the park.

Outside of the home, like at school, there’s often a lot going on and a lot of other voices. It can take time for children to build their confidence and join in.

What NOT To Do

If your child is not talking much when outside the home, it won't help to put them on the spot, i.e "sing your ABCs for grandma".

Avoid pushing them to perform or engage. It's only going to make them more nervous.

It's also best to avoid saying things like, "they usually talk at home, I'm not sure why they're not talking now."

This just makes them feel self-conscious and can create more anxiety around talking.

What if it's "not normal?"

If your child has been in childcare for years and still isn't talking at school, it could be related to anxiety. Your child's teacher can likely provide information about next steps.

An experienced teacher will have worked with many different families over the years. They typically know what's a normal part of development and what might require further support from an expert.

If they're concerned, they may recommend an evaluation by a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP).

However, if you're worried and your child's teacher hasn't said anything yet, it doesn’t hurt to ask their opinion.

If your child is not in childcare, a family doctor or your local Public Health Unit are other good resources to monitor your child's language milestones.

In Ontario, we have a program called Healthy Babies Healthy Children but most public health units in Canada will have similar programming.