My 3-Year-Old Talks to Herself When She Is Upset: Is That Normal?

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QUESTION: Is It Normal That My 3-Year-Old Daughter Talks To Herself When She Is Upset?

“My 3-year-old has been talking to herself a lot when she gets upset. For example, when it is time for bed, she will lay down and tell herself, ‘it’s okay, you’re a big girl. It’s okay,” and she will keep repeating it.

She also has a lot of ‘episodes/breakdowns throughout the day, and we have taught her when she gets upset to take a deep breath and count to 5 and continue to do that until she feels better and is ready to talk. This works great for her! She then expresses her emotions to us once she has calm down, for example, ‘mom, I’m ready to talk. I’m mad because I can’t find my pink shoes.’

However, lately, she’s been talking to herself. She will say, “it’s okay… it’s okay.. take a deep breath, and it will be okay.” My question is: Is this normal? My in-laws say there is something wrong with her, and if she’s talking to herself, we aren’t paying enough attention to her.

But I feel the opposite. I am big on teaching them coping mechanisms because I am manic/bipolar and was never taught how to properly deal with my emotions, which I struggled with growing up. And I want my kids to know how to express themselves in a positive way.”

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My 3-Year-Old Talks to Herself When She Is Upset: Is That Normal?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“She is self-regulating. That is AMAZING for that age. Great parenting!”

“That’s actually impressive at her age. We all talk to ourselves, we just don’t do it out loud. At 3 years old, this is a great coping mechanism.”

“I feel like maybe it’s just a self reassurance thing because of the tools you give her. Sort of like a verbal reminder for herself that everything is fine.”

“Well done in raising such a mature young girl who is coping with her emotions! Ignore your in laws!”

“Totally normal!!! My 5-yo does this and many other quirky things. We also do the breathing techniques (advised by his OT) and he’s gotten so good at managing his emotions. Tell your inlaws to STFU. They are out of line and need to back off. You’re doing amazing, momma!”

“Ignore who is telling you that BS! She is perfectly normal and learning how to handle her emotions probably better than us adults!”

“Sounds like she calms herself that way. She talks herself up. I think it is honestly beautiful and inspirational. My daughter has been having a hard time lately and I just have to say thank you! I want to see how this works for my girly.”

“First of all, when I am upset, I start talking to myself in the same way. This is absolutely okay. You achieved your goal of teaching your daughter how to positively deal with her feelings and cope. Congratulations! Do your best to ignore your mother in law if she is only saying these things around you. If she ever says anything in front of your daughter however, you need to speak up for her…

… Tell your in-laws that this is completely normal and she is processing her emotions in a positive way and if they don’t have anything nice to say then not to speak. Your daughter will pick up on this and she will start thinking negatively about herself. If you defend her, she will learn there is something wrong with them.”

“She is USING HER MOMMY’S WORDS to calm herself. Tell your in-laws she is self-soothing and EVERYONE TALKS TO THEMSELVES. She is ahead of the game. Your in-laws sound judgemental and I would tell them to keep their comments to themselves or they won’t have a granddaughter anymore.”

“I believe she is extremely intelligent and the fact she tells herself to calm down and goes through her emotions calmly by talking herself through it is remarkable. You are doing a great job!!”

“She has more emotional self care then most adults. I thinks she sounds like an amazing little girl and you are a great mom. I would not worry about her.”

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