Raising a well-behaved child who can use a quiet voice when it's needed it can be a challenge. Children love to accompany their daily behaviors and play with loud exclamations and boisterous conversations. Teaching them to monitor the sound of their voices in certain environments and conditions can be done, but it takes practice, reinforcement and patience.
1. Lead by Example
If you wish to maintain a quiet household with an active young child in the home, you and other members of the family must set the tone. Conversations should be low but articulate, and the handling of kitchen and other noisy items should be kept at a lower volume. Doors should be closed in areas where higher noise levels are necessary and disagreements handled in a calm and quiet manner.
2. Reward Good Behavior
Compliments such as "You are being such a good, quiet child while Grandma takes her nap!" will go far in encouraging your child to continue her quiet behavior. It is far easier to point out the positive actions than to discipline the negative. Use a ratio of six compliments to every one negative statement or admonishment for effective and positive reinforcement. Do not respond to your toddler when he raises his voice -- ask him to speak quietly and then listen intently to what he has to say.
3. Reduce Sources of Other Noises and Distractions
Stereos, TVs and other equipment should be set at a lower volume so it will not overstimulate the child or give her noisy competition when she is trying to speak. Create a calm, soothing environment where a child will not have to struggle to be heard over other noisy distractions such as video games and music.
4. Be Clear and Specific About Expectations
You might have an elderly relative in your home or overly sensitive neighbors in the apartment next door. A parent or sibling might be studying for a college degree and quiet surroundings might be vital to school success. Whatever the case, be clear in explaining to the child why speaking in a low voice is important. Designate specific areas such as the backyard or playground where it is appropriate to use an "outdoor" voice to give the child some freedom to express himself loudly.
5. Provide Quiet Activities
Engage your child in quiet activities that do not require shouting or friendly arguing. Coloring, painting, molding clay, reading, drawing or playing with blocks are all fun and focused play that does not require noise or boisterous conversation. Keep activities on hand especially for those times when silence is necessary such as when a new baby is sleeping.
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