My nearly 3 years old daughter is capable of saying whole sentences by now and using them nicely while at home with us.

However the kindergarten staff claims she speaks very little and not capable of saying whole sentences.

We tried to explain them the situation, but so far they were not able to "convince" her to talk the same way like she does at home.

Is this a normal behavior? Should we be worried or take her to professional help?

Possible causes that I can think of are:

  • She can get what she want without talking too much as the staff know her very well and love her.

  • She is very shy so maybe she's just being too shy to talk much when with other children.

Knowing the cause might help, ideas for more possible causes are also welcome.

  • 2
    It could be resistance against the expectations - like a sort of stage fright. Your home feels safe to her but perhaps she just needs to build up enough confidence to dare speak "in public." Be patient and don't push too hard. May 21, 2013 at 13:07
  • 1
    @Torben sure, it's like this for a long while now. We don't push her at all and the staff is really patient with her as well. May 21, 2013 at 13:27
  • If she's not yet three, I'd venture to guess that she's actually attending preschool (or perhaps daycare), not kindergarten.
    – Martha
    Jun 1, 2013 at 6:01

2 Answers 2


Children who are independent, shy, introverted, or a combination of those things can sometimes be difficult for teachers to assess. My son was initially VERY introverted when we first enrolled him at his current school. He didn't play or interact with the other children much. It's taken almost 2 years, but he's a completely different kid now. Some of that is his comfort level as he is more familiar with the teachers, his classmates, and the structure of the school day. He's still shy in new situations and I would certainly classify him as an introvert (he definitely takes after me). It takes him awhile to acclimate to new situations.

First, consider how long she has been attending this school. If she's fairly new to the school, she could still be becoming comfortable with her new environment. Like I said, it took our son almost 2 years to become completely comfortable with our school.

Do the teachers give her the opportunity to speak in complete sentences? I would guess they would, but they may need to take a different tactic.

If you say she's speaking in complete sentences, then I wouldn't worry too much about what the teachers say on this particular point. I would believe that she'll start talking more on her own.

  • Thanks, she's only 3 (in couple of months) so no school or teachers yet, but the concept is the same. :) May 21, 2013 at 17:45
  • @meg +1 I like your answer
    – user21179
    Jul 28, 2013 at 12:46

I agree with @Meg Coates' answer and would like to add my views.

The key here, is that she is talking at home.

This is not unusual and actually can be observed in people of all ages. Not everybody is comfortable speaking in social situations.

On the point of a three year old child. Children of this age are naturally suspicious of strangers and want to know that their primary care giver is close at hand, or if left alone, that the parent will be sure to return. Within this parameters of a, potentially, anxiety provoking experience, it is usual for some children to be reserved.

Children are prone to regressing when feeling stressed; or as the case may be here, shy.

My youngest child spoke her first word at about 15 months. "fluff". Our response was to comment and praise her as being so clever. She did not speak another word for over a year. She did not start speaking, until she could speak in full sentences and well. She took in all around her, studied and learnt.

It was then some years before any of my friends heard her speak. At this time, she would talk to her peers at preschool, but rarely adults, unless they were family. Some thought there was something wrong with her. As she was my third child and I felt confident in my parenting abilities, I didn't fret, as I knew she was developing well, and that she had a very reserved nature. I respected that then, and still do. In fact, during this time, she became and still is very talkative at home.

As she grew older she gradually became more verbal and now speaks her mind freely in front of adults she knows well. She has the usual reservations of an eleven year old girl in front of adults she does not know well, which is also reflective of respect.

Basically, I have not forced her to talk to strangers, and supported her in setting her own pace when put into new situations, like starting school, starting a new sport. I trust in her nature, as a reserved person, that she is discerning and takes her time to assess people and situations before, wholly, participating in the activities. In a verbal and social sense.

This is an almost, endless, subject. I do know this. Many parents worry too much (that is our job) and I can say that what is "normal" or " healthy" development is broad. Contemporary psychology and studies, can place some children on the edges of the bell curve. It is important to remember this, it is just the propensity of human beings to strive for conformity. Fortunately human beings are made up of a great variety of personalities, and, usually, there is less to be concerned with, other than being overly-concerned.

nb. I have a child that had learning difficulties and he had speech therapy 5-6 days a week for a long time. The speech therapist and I would look at my daughter (a baby then) and would note how she was taking everything in. As for my son, when a child has difficulty learning, it is apparent, and a whole different thing. The parent is, usually, the best judge

side note by parent, I include and mean to acknowledge all primary caregivers.

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