Loud Children: How to Get Noisy Kids to be Quiet
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.