“Use Your Inside Whisper”

Josie Leavitt -- January 24th, 2014

Nothing is cuter than little kids who fill the store with energy and enthusiasm. They are joyful and often this can be loudly expressed. It’s never a problem with us, frankly a little boy or girl shouting, “We have this!” when he sees a book from home is endearing. But, I don’t have to live with it. Over the years I’ve seen parents adopt many different strategies for quieting down exuberant children.

The least effective way to silence loud kids is to tell them to be quiet. I’ve seen this time and time again. It seems to have the exact opposite effect. Children just seem to not hear this, just like how moms can ignore shouts of “Mom” for long minutes. Kids must hear this a lot, I know I did as a kid. I was a pointer-outer who liked to shout at things as I noticed them. My mom would always ask me to quiet down, and it never worked.

One technique I’ve seen that’s just genius is the “Let’s-see-how-quiet-we-can-be because we’re spies game.” Who doesn’t love a fun game? I’ll often join in on the fun and play along. It’s a fun way to help kids focus on picking books. There is another game I’ve played with kids who are not only loud, but won’t let a parent get a word in edgewise. I’ll suggest they count to 10, 10 times. This usually works and it’s just enough time that the mom or dad can spit out what they’re looking for and we can pull things to look at.

For younger children who might find counting to 10 a challenge, one mom devised something very simple: the inside whisper. Not just the inside voice, but inside whisper, so gentle and so effective. I’ve only seen this used with one little boy about two and a half. This little blonde-headed moppet was surprisingly loud and very happy. His shouts of, “Truck! Look! Mom!” were actually adorable. He pointed out everything. His mom very patiently suggested that he use his inside whisper. He quieted down until he forgot and she’d gently remind him and they just keep repeating the cycle until everyone was chuckling.

It’s funny, though – more often than not I’m telling people they don’t have to whisper in the store.

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