HomeEducation PsychologyADHD“4 Simple Strategies to Help Impulsive Students Stop Blurting”

“4 Simple Strategies to Help Impulsive Students Stop Blurting”

We’ve all seen it. The student who inadvertently cuts off their friend mid-sentence because they have something they really, really want to say. The student who is excited and enthusiastic about today’s lesson and can’t help but blurt out responses.

With patience and a few tried-and-true strategies, you can help your student harness their enthusiasm and energy in the classroom while minimizing blurting. Use these ideas to spark your next brilliant behavior plan or classroom-management strategy.

1. Try planned ignoring. During a classroom activity, acknowledge students who raise their hands and wait to be called on. (Be sure to repeat this expectation prior to and during the lesson.) When a student who was previously blurting is now raising their hand, call on that student right away, and praise their enthusiastic efforts to contribute while following classroom expectations.

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2. Three nods and a deep breath. For students who struggle with waiting their turn to contribute to a conversation (especially when it’s an exciting one that relates to their interests), encourage them to work and refine their patience muscles with a quick exercise: When the urge to blurt comes up before a friend has finished their statement, slowly and slightly nod three times and then take a deep breath before jumping in. Even if the student does end up blurting, it’s the practice of mindfully waiting that counts. This exercise also teaches students to be active listeners.

3. Use self-monitoring tools. Sometimes, students are unaware that they are blurting and how often they engage in the behavior. Self-monitoring tools can raise their awareness (without causing shame) and help control its frequency. My favorite way to use self-monitoring in the classroom is for both student and teacher to track the student’s blurt count for a lesson/period and compare results.

If the blurt tally is the same, then the student gets to pick from the big prize box for recognizing the number of times they blurted. (If the tally is off, you should reward the student anyway for making progress, perhaps by allowing them to pick a smaller prize.)

Over time, once the student’s baseline number of blurts is established, you can set clear goals around limiting those interruptions. If five is the average for a lesson, then aim for the student to blurt no more than three times a lesson. Praise and reward the student, perhaps with additional time for recess for the whole class.

[Read: Impulse Control Strategies for School and Home]

4. Do an environmental check. Thinking critically about the environment in which our students learn is essential to maximize their learning and make sure everyone is on the same page with respect to the classroom rules.

  • Review classroom expectations frequently with your students. Make sure that the rules are clear and easy to understand, and write them on the board or keep them on a poster hanging up for all to see. Ensure that students understand when it is okay to talk softly to friends in their desk pod and when it’s time to be absolutely quiet, like during tests.
  • Consider seating. Put a student who blurts near your desk or away from other students who also blurt. Consider creating a designated space in your classroom that students can go to if they need to self-regulate to control blurting and other impulsive behaviors.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of a clutter-free space. Where is my notebook? Pencil? Last week’s homework assignment? A cleaner environment can reduce these questions, which may come out as blurting. During transition times, have your students take a few minutes to do individualized environmental check to keep organized.
  • Check noise levels. Soft music may calm some students, which helps with impulsivity, while others need absolute silence to avoid being “activated.” Think of what works for your students and consider using noise cancelling headphones for students who need quiet.

How to Stop Blurting: Next Steps

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Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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