Kids are noisy!
They giggle, scream, yell, laugh, talk, chatter, bang toys, jump, and then giggle some more. Even as they get older, the noise level never really seems to decrease. What help is there for parents who want to get the noisy kids to be quiet?
When my kids were young, their noisiness was a major cause for stress. My husband worked nights so during the day, he was trying to sleep while they played. I can’t remember how many times I would say, “Shhh! Quiet down! Daddy’s sleeping!” When that didn’t work, my own voice would realize as I continued with my pleas to “quiet down”.
One day, however, my husband mentioned how difficult it had been to get to sleep. I assumed it was because of all the noise the kids had made so I began to apologize for their rowdiness. “Well, actually,” he said, “I really didn’t hear them. Instead I heard you telling them to be quiet all day.”
Ouch! It was then that I realized that my own noise level had escalated. I was even louder than the kids I was trying to quiet! Why would they lower their voices when mine was so loud? By raising my voice in telling them to be quiet, I was only adding to the problem, not solving it.
This doesn’t just happen to stay-at-home moms whose husbands sleep during the day. It happens when dealing with children all the time.
- We’ve all seen or experienced it at restaurants. Mom and Dad are so busy trying to get the children to sit still and eat quietly so that the restaurant staff won’t kick them out and everyone else won’t look at them as if they are the worst parents in the world. Yet no matter how hard they try, the kids are loud, messing, distracting, and disruptive.
- Or what about in the library? Everything else is calm and quiet. People are reading, studying, or quietly searching for that perfect book or resource when a young parent comes in desperately trying to keep her preschooler’s voice down.
- At home, when it’s time to relax at the end of the day, the last thing parents want to deal with is noisy, rambunctious children who won’t quiet down and can’t seem to calm down. You as a parent are wiped out, but they are just getting started and are bouncing off the walls.
- One of my biggest parenting struggles with noise, however, is in the car. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been driving or trying to help my husband navigate through unfamiliar territory and the kids suddenly get the giggles or start to argue loudly. In a nerve-racking road situation, their noise level only increases my stress.
After my husband brought my own noise level to my attention, I started approaching the problem differently. Instead of talking over the noise, I tried whispering. Instead of standing over them with my hands on my hips and getting angry, I got down on my knees to my child’s level. “Hey, come here,” I whispered. To my surprise, I got her attention. Instead of ignoring me, she was intrigued by my whisper. Since I had her attention, I continued on in the same tone, “I need you to use your quiet voice right now. Can you show me your quiet voice?”
“Yes,” she whispered back gently.
Wow! I couldn’t believe it. No amount of yelling would have gotten a result like that!
She kept her voice down as she continued to play. Yet whenever it would begin to rise again, I softly whisper, “Remember to use your quiet voice…” and she would quiet down.
Since that day, I’ve tried a number of ways to control the noise level in my home. Here are some suggestions that you can easily put into practice yourself:
- Whisper - Whispering makes the children curious. They want to know if something secret is going on. Whispering gets their attention much more than yelling.
- Tiptoeing – When the noise level comes from heavy feet running and jumping, try tiptoeing and see it they follow suit.
- Prepare ahead of time – For outings to restaurants, the library, or trips in the car, come prepared with some emergency snacks and activities. Many times it’s boredom that brings out the loud voices.
- Give them a loud voice outlet – Kids will only be quiet for so long. Make sure there is some time built into the day where they are free to be as loud and rambunctious as they want. They have a lot of energy to burn. When my son had trouble sitting still doing his homework, I would have him run around the house three times to get it out of his system.
- Put calming bedtime routines into practice – Kids won’t go right to sleep when they are riled up. Use books, songs, and prayer time to calm them down and rest their hearts before bed.
- Remember that they are still children – These suggestions won’t suddenly turn your hyper three-year-old into a quiet mature miniature adult. Instead they are meant as guidelines to help you remain in control of your own emotions during stressful situations.
If you’re a parent or childcare provider for young children, why not give this approach to noise control a try? You may be surprised yourself at how much more attention they’ll give a quiet whisper than a loud reprimand or harsh discipline.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
GAN3SH on November 11, 2012:
Very nice article.. it was like as though I am saying it.. though I give my kids (4 and 3 year old) couple of hours to be noisy and loud, they just don't seem to have enough of it.. they scream, yell, fit all day.. thought of the weekend makes it so depressing to me..
lisabeaman (author) from Phoenix, AZ on February 20, 2012:
Read More From Wehavekids
Mandy - Thanks for reading and commenting. I wish I could be of more help to you. I don't have any experience working with autistic children. I'm sure there are several other parents who experience the same parenting struggles that you do. I hope you find the answers you are looking for.
Mandy on February 19, 2012:
I have an eleven year old with mild high functioning autism and these suggestions only work temporarily with him. More help would be appreciated.
kelleyward on December 26, 2011:
I can relate!!! I have 3 loud boys and I am loud myself. The car noise drives me crazy....thanks for your suggestions I'll try them out driving to Chuck E Cheese...
mistifields on October 29, 2011:
Nice advice. Voted up.
lisabeaman (author) from Phoenix, AZ on August 02, 2011:
Thanks Hennie! That's a great point! Any time our kids consistently do something that annoys us, it would do us well to take a look at ourselves and see if we are the ones they are learning that from! That's a tough thing to do for any parent. Thanks for commenting!
HennieN from South Africa on August 02, 2011:
Wonderful hub. Children learn by example. I also learned that my kids are noisy because .... I am noisy.
lisabeaman (author) from Phoenix, AZ on August 01, 2011:
I perfectly agree with you, Robert. Children need to learn that there are certain spaces that are reserved for certain activities and adult sections of the library are reserved for quiet. When my kids were little I would go over certain rules for them before we would go places and the library was one of those places (so were certain shops with lots of breakable, expensive items). That would help them understand what was expected of them up front. I have another hub about that called, "How to Use Simple Rules to Help Kids Obey".
Thanks for the comment!
lisabeaman (author) from Phoenix, AZ on July 29, 2011:
Thanks Ashlea and Practical Mommy! I hope the idea will work for you. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Marissa from United States on July 26, 2011:
Thanks for the tips! My son tends to be a loud child at times. I think I'll be using the whisper/tiptoe methods with him now. :)
Ashlea B on May 23, 2011:
I like the whisper idea. Thanks!
lisabeaman (author) from Phoenix, AZ on September 14, 2010:
Thanks everyone! I think you're right, Dobson about being creative, patient and resourceful!
kaltopsyd from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on September 14, 2010:
My godsisters and I always play the "silence game." Haha. I usually works but the 4-year-old always loses to the 6-year-old. Great tips!
Dobson from Virginia on September 01, 2010:
Being a parent requires you to be creative, patient and resourceful. It seems you met the challenge well!
Smart Rookie on August 31, 2010:
Noisy kids will respond to a parent's calm, quiet influence. This is good advice.
lisabeaman (author) from Phoenix, AZ on August 30, 2010:
Thanks for the comments! Viking... I must confess there are times when I need to read this! I know I've been guilty of shouting a time or two... but that approach really doesn't work.
Wendy Henderson from Cape Coral on August 30, 2010:
Whispering works 100%. I find that when I whisper, they will automatically lower their voices so they can hear me. Great Hub.
L M Reid from Ireland on August 29, 2010:
I like this idea of a quiet voice. You are right that if the children see and hear the parents making noise and raising their voices they will follow suit. Unfortunatley I too hear parents shouting at their children in the street rather than quielty asking them to behave.
ForMomswithLove from New York on August 29, 2010:
We need to teach by example.
lisabeaman (author) from Phoenix, AZ on August 28, 2010:
Thanks ladies! I think it had to become a game for us. That's a great way to think of it... and lakeerieartist, now that you mention it - I was the loud one in my family growing up as well. My normal voice just always seemed to carry farther. Perhaps my strategy was from a subconscious destain for always being told to be quiet myself?
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 27, 2010:
I think you ended up with some great ideas. It is almost like being quiet became a game. Great article/
Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on August 27, 2010:
Good points here. My husband's family is so much less boisterous that my own family, and it has caused some discord in our house. My older daughter is quiet, but my younger daughter has a naturally loud voice that projects, and that is before she start talking loudly.
Definitely helps to not get loud yourself, but that can be hard to do at times.