How Do I Get My Child to Stay Quiet?

As a parent, getting your child to stay quiet can feel like an impossible task at times. Children are naturally energetic, curious, and vocal. While this is often endearing, there are definitely moments when you need them to use their “inside voice” or just stay silent altogether. Trying to force them to be quiet rarely works and usually leads to frustration on both sides. With some strategic tips, you can get your child to stay quiet without constant nagging or threats of punishment.

Set Expectations

Children do best when they clearly understand what’s expected of them. Take the time to explain when and where quiet voices are needed. For example, tell them that during family dinner time voices need to stay low so everyone can enjoy the meal. Or let them know they need to use whisper voices when you’re at a library or museum so other visitors aren’t disturbed. Giving them context helps them regulate their volume appropriately. You can even practice what different decibel levels sound like so they learn when they’re getting too loud.

Provide Engaging Activities

Fidgety, noisy kids are often bored kids in need of stimulation. When you need them to stay quiet for extended periods, like during long car rides or waiting at appointments, come armed with engaging distractions. Pack favorite books, coloring books, puzzles, small toys, or electronics loaded with movies or apps. Giving them something fun but not loud to focus on helps tremendously. Even infants and toddlers can be occupied with a few board books, soft toys, or snacks. The more absorbed they are in an activity, the less likely they are to get restless and noisy.

Set Up a Quiet Space

Give your child a designated place to sit or play quietly when needed. This could be a reading nook with pillows and books or a corner with puzzles, coloring pages, and headphones. Allow them to spend time in the quiet space when you’re on an important call or just need a break. They’ll feel comforted knowing they have a place to go be calm. You can even keep special books and toys in reserve that only come out when quiet time is required. The novelty will make them more eager to use the space appropriately.

Offer Positive Reinforcements

When your child manages to stay quiet for a significant period, be sure to praise their good behavior. Let them know directly what they did well like “I’m so proud of how you whispered during the movie” or “Thank you for playing so quietly with your blocks.” Positive reinforcements will motivate them to continue using their indoor voice and stay focused on quiet play. If needed, offer small rewards like stickers on a chart leading up to a bigger prize. Kids love feeling accomplished.

Set a Good Example

Children mimic what they see and hear at home. If you’re often noisy yourself, regularly shouting, stomping around, or slamming doors, don’t expect your kids to instinctively know an indoor voice. Model speaking in calm, quiet tones around the house. Point out when your own voice gets too loud. Your example will positively influence them. And any time you ask them to stay quiet, make sure you do too. Leading by example is powerful.

Getting your child to stay quiet when needed is very possible. Have realistic expectations, prepare plenty of engaging distractions, create a designated quiet space, use positive reinforcements, and set a good example. With patience and consistency, your child will learn when it’s time to turn down the volume and use their indoor voice.