It’s a pep talk
Talking to herself at this age occurs for another reason, too. Termed “self-directing speech” by psychologists, a three-year- old can talk to herself in order to give herself instructions.
That’s why your child might say: “Put that piece there and this piece here”, when playing with a jigsaw. She talks to herself because she is giving herself directions to complete the challenge in front of her.
Maybe you do this, too, without realising it. For instance, if you are nervous about going to the dentist, as you approach the surgery you might say to yourself: “Don’t be silly, act like a grown-up”, in order to compose yourself. You and your little one use this method in the exact same way, only she does this more frequently than you.
However, self-talk that is very frequent (several times every day), very intense (the child becomes emotionally charged every time she speaks to herself) and very resistant to outside interference (she refuses to acknowledge you when you speak to her while
self-talking), can be a sign of a deeper underlying diﬃculty.
Most likely this happens because the child is anxious about something, for example, perhaps she is troubled about her relationships with her siblings, and once that concern is resolved herself-talk play returns to its previous normal level.
If you are at all bothered by the amount of self-talk in her life – and in virtually all instances, such worry is totally unjustied – have a chat with your family doctor about it.
Related: Is your single child lonely?