Some days you just crave quiet. Your soul is yearning for calm and you’re thirsty for an environment with no chaos, no upheaval and no loud noises.
But your kids are yelling!
How do you deal? By screaming at them to be quiet? I hope not, because your best strategy is to model the behavior you want from them.
But think about it. No wonder kids are noisy—they’re surrounded by man-made sound almost constantly. Noise is so commonplace to them that they are often uncomfortable in silence. In a world where kids and adults alike are plugged into technology and listening to TV, videos and music, teaching our kids to be quiet is a precious lesson—one that helps them get calm and in touch with their inner selves.
Here are some strategies to get kids to be quiet.
1. First and foremost, always try positive reinforcement for good behavior. Praise them when they do what you ask. Kids love to please and want to know when they’ve done it well. They usually do what they think you expect of them, so if you tell them they’re always loud, they’ll continue to be loud. If you reprimand them for yelling and tell them how they are misbehaving, they’re likely to misbehave and keep yelling because that’s what you’ve focused on. If you want them to be still, then tell them how much you like it when they’re quiet. Let them know that you expect that they will be soft and gentle. Focus on the positive behavior you know they can do, not the negative behavior they sometimes engage in, in order to get more of that positive behavior.
2. Next, be clear about what you mean by getting quiet. Is it total silence you want or just not yelling and causing commotion? When you say, “Please be quiet.” your children might not even know exactly what you’re asking of them.
3. Talk with your kids about the value of stillness—how it relaxes your mind and renews your spirit and allows you to get in touch with what’s going on inside you.
4. Set aside times at home where no one will be plugged in to anything. As a family, you can use this time to read or have quiet conversation.
5. Go for walks with your kids in nature and allow them to experience the beauty and wonder of solitude where you focus on the songs of the birds overhead and the crunching of grasses and twigs underfoot.
Next: More tips and strategies for different ages