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How to Teach Kids to Use Quiet Voices

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated June 13, 2017

Kids may have difficulty remembering to control the volume of their voices. Especially when indoors in enclosed areas, loud children can reverberate off the walls and be unpleasant to hear. With firm and consistent reminders, you can help children remember to use quieter indoor voices. Although quiet voices may seem foreign to youngsters, they will quickly learn to adjust their volume to keep peace with adults.

Model the voice level you want to hear. When you want your child to lower the volume and keep his voice quieter, speak to him in a calm and low voice. Children pay close attention to how parents talk and interact with others, advises the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.

Direct your child to speak at the level you want him to use a positive command instead of telling your child not to speak loudly. Children often respond more willingly when you give a direction requesting the desired behavior instead of correcting against an undesired behavior, according to Mary Elizabeth Hoffman, MA, with the Florida Department of Health. For example, you might say, “Please use your quiet voice inside the house. It hurts my ears when you shout.”

Take your child outside to give him an opportunity to make more noise if he’s acting energetic and rambunctious. Allow your child time to burn off steam, making outdoor-level noise. When you take him back indoors, he’ll likely be more successful at using a quiet voice.

Remind your child when he becomes excited that you want to hear a quieter voice. It’s common for children to become louder when they become excited.

Provide positive feedback when your child remembers to use a quiet voice. Praise can be an effective way to reinforce and encourage the behavior you want, states the New Mexico State University Family Times newsletter. You might say, “Wow, I can see how excited you are right now, but you are remembering your quiet voice. Great work!” Simple feedback like this can often be enough to motivate children to repeat behavior again to please you again.

Tips

It may help to ignore loud voices, too – especially if your child has a habit of using a loud voice, advises the University of Michigan Health System. By not giving the loud voice attention and pretending you don’t hear your child, he will learn not to speak so loudly. You might say, “I’m sorry. I’m having trouble hearing you when you yell. Try again with a quieter voice, please.”

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