Dear American Girl,

I love to talk. My mouth is always running a mile a minute, and I can't seem to stop chattering. Sometimes I have trouble thinking before I speak, and I'll say something bad or hurt someone's feelings. Is there anything I can do to slow down and think about my words before I say them?
-Chatterbox

Here's your advice:

Instead of talking nonstop, try to take a breath before you say something. It'll give you a second to collect your thoughts before opening your mouth. If you feel that you're starting to babble, cut your sentence short and give the other person a chance to talk. Have patience and don't interrupt him or her. I hope this helps!
-Aliana, age 10, Wisconsin

Sometimes I can be pretty sarcastic. But one day I realized that the only reason I was making those comments was to get attention. From then on, I made sure to focus on others' feelings and not just my own. If you get used to focusing on others, it might be easier to say nice things.
-Serenity, age 12, Missouri

It might help to write about your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Getting your words down on paper might help you keep some things to yourself.
-Amber, age 10, Florida

It's important to think before you speak. My teacher taught my class the "T.H.I.N.K." method, and it helps a lot. Before you speak, ask yourself, "Is it thoughtful? Helpful? Interesting? Nice? Kind?" If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then it's OK to say it.
-Katherine, age 12, Massachusetts

The next time you have a conversation with someone and you want to say something, count to five first. It'll give you time to think about what you will say.
-Analise, age 13, Ohio

Maybe you need to get better at listening. Really focus on what someone is saying when she talks. If you have a friend who seems down, ask her if she'd like to talk about it. Listening will give your tongue a break.
-Renee, age 13, Minnesota

If you feel to the urge to blurt out something, change the subject or think of a way to say what's on your mind that won't hurt anyone's feelings.
-Lillian, age 11, Texas

You could be wound up, and that's why you talk so much. Try to relax more. Be present and soak in the details of your surroundings. It'll help you slow down and be calmer.
-Olivia, age 12, New York

To stop myself from saying something mean, I ask the person a question instead, such as, "What did you think of that test?" or "Doing anything fun this weekend?" This will get the other person talking, and my desire to make the comment will disappear.
-Jada, age 13, Florida

When you want to say something, picture yourself raising your hand in class. When the teacher asks a question, you take a second to think about it and wait patiently to speak. Try to apply that same idea to your conversations.
-Esmeralda, age 9, Iowa

Before you say something, pretend that you're the other person and say it in your head. If the comment might hurt your feelings, don't say it.
-Grace, age 11, Kentucky

Think about subjects that cause you to say negative things. Then do your best to avoid those subjects. Talk about topics that you and the other person both will enjoy, such as pets or movies.
-Madisyn, age 13, California

If you say something that upsets someone, stop and say, "I'm sorry. What I meant to say wasÉ" and fix your words.
-Lily, age 9, Illinois

You won't always know what words will upset someone. People can think you meant something in a different way than you actually did. It will take time to learn to think before you speak. In the meantime, make sure to apologize if you hurt someone's feelings.
-Jessica, age 12, Michigan

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