Kids are loud. They are awesome and fun and wild and crazy and flipping loud. Here are some ways you can get that noise down when it becomes too much for you. This is particularly good for women who are highly sensitive to environmental noises. Raises hand!
My husband laughed when I told him.
“I’m a highly sensitive person.”
It’s rare for him to give me a look like that. You see, I’m a Type A wife and mom, and we are generally not sensitive. We are, in fact, quite the opposite. But that wasn’t my point. I’m not talking about being sensitive towards other people…
But sensitive to my environment.
I have great patience for many things, but screaming/squealing/yelling is not one of them. In fact, it is like a trigger for me. When I hear screaming my heart starts beating very fast and I start feeling angry. I know. It’s weird. Luckily, this has toned down a bit since having children… 4 kids in 4 years means there is a lot of noise in our home.
But still… the noise gets to me. Especially if it’s loud whining, screaming, or unhappy squealing. So, in an effort to be a calm mom, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
Recommended read: The Highly Sensitive Person
When things are getting out of control, everyone is yelling, the baby is making paths with toilet paper, and I am Past the Point, one of my first “go to” tricks is to have Relax Time with the kids. I talk about it at length here, but the gist is this: have your kids take a seat, get some books, and read them quietly. This even works with my 2-year-old son.
Independent play time
We are firm believers that kids need to learn to play on their own. For various reasons. Children learn to use their imaginations, develop problem-solving and decision-making skills, and are essentially train themselves not to get bored so easily. When your kids are all fussy fighting, and whining a good tool is to give them independent play right then and there.
They can go to their own rooms or, if they share a room (a must read for small ones room sharing), one can go outside or even to your room with some toys. This will bring everyone nearly an hour of peace and the kids love it since no one is taking their toys!
Practice “give me a minute”
Kids are not really born knowing you’re about to lose the grip on your emotions. They see you fly off the handle, sure enough, but they don’t really know why until we train and explain. I have worked hard to teach my kids what I mean when I say “give me a minute.” I need a bit of silence, some time alone (even if it’s in the bathroom with my Diet Coke), and for the to refrain from whining, fussing, or fighting. Once they’ve understood, they really do get it.
Send the kids outside
I am a huge proponent of outside play. It’s open, free, and the fresh air does everyone good. During rainy weeks, the winter, and seasons where we just get outside less, I find some good lengthy time outdoors helps to calm everyone down. There are less toys to fight over and, if they do scream, it isn’t as grating.
We have a fenced in area just for the kids to play in, and I’ll often send them outside to play while I watch from a window inside. They get to be loud, I don’t have to hear it. Win win.
Have a crazy “get it out” fest
When things are tense and you’re all about to lose it, why not have a concentrated time of yelling and screaming just to get it out? You can use the timer and say “for 3 minutes we’re going to make as much noise as possible then we will….” Let them bang pots, yell, scream, jump up and down, and make a big racket. Then tell them that’s enough and you mean it.
Use the timer
The timer can be a mom’s best friend. Since we children respond well to boundaries and actually become more insecure the more open ended things are, a timer works wonders. You can say “Okay, for another 10 minutes you can play freely and then we are going to do xyz.” You can tell everyone to sit still for 5 minutes until the timer goes off to collect themselves. You can send everyone to their rooms to cool off for a set time. The possibilities are endless. But a timer is a great way to transition from one activity (or lack of activity) to another one.
Put on praise music
This surprised me when it was suggested by another. Surely music won’t just calm everyone down, I thought. And no, any random music might not, but praise music works wonders here. When mealtimes become too loud or I start to get angry because of disruptions or endless whining, I will turn on praise music. And I’ll put it up loud. This serves two functions: it initially drowns out their noise and it gives them something to focus on.
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