Ask any Mum what they’d really like for Mother’s Day and an overwhelming majority of them would answer “some peace and quiet’. On the face of it, sounds like an easy wish to grant and certainly easier than shopping around for flowers, chocolates, perfume or organizing a restaurant lunch, isn’t it?
But as we all know, children’s natural exuberance and energy can often mean that the house is anything but peaceful and certainly not quiet!
When kids are making lots of noise, it’s usual for Mums and Dads to start raising their voices too. They have to! Just to get their requests heard. But the louder they get, the louder the children seem to get too! The tone and volume of their voices starts to lead the kids in the wrong direction. Before you know it, getting any kind of “peace and quiet” in the house seems a distinct impossibility.
Follow my tips here and see what a difference it can make.
1. There’s a great NLP technique called “Matching, Pacing & Leading” that will help: Start by matching the tone of your voice with your children’s, even if you just say something like “whoa, there’s a lot of excitement today, isn’t there?”, in quite a loud voice. Keep this up for a few moments so that you ‘fall into step’ with them. Then gradually start altering the tone and speed of your own voice. Start slowing down, lower your tone and begin to speak more quietly and you’ll notice that the kids gradually start matching you and your behaviour – you’ll be ‘leading’ them in a different direction.
2. You can tell the kids to “be quiet” – but what exactly do you mean? Your child may not know or completely understand. Is it total silence that you’re after or just less noise and running around? Be more specific in your request and you’re more likely to get a result. Give an example of a time when they were quiet and ask them to see if they could be just like that. Eg.“Yesterday, when everyone came home from school and curled up on the sofa being as quiet as mice.”
3. Give a reason – if you explain why you’re asking for something, your wish is more likely to be granted. For example: “Let’s turn the volume down and start being a bit quieter because we need to decide what we’re going to do next and it will be easier to think of good ideas”.
It’s a much more effective way of creating a change in behaviour – and without needing to shout and yell.
This reminds me of my days as a Montessori Teacher – whenever my classroom got way too noisy, I’d start WHISPERING. The exact opposite of what you’d think I’d need to do. It can take a bit of courage to do this, because as a teacher you need to gain control of a large group of unruly children quickly – and it’s natural to think you need to shout to restore order. But you have to trust that the process will work. Kids are naturally curious and they’ll want to hear what you’re saying and they’ll lower their voices very quickly so that they can. A surprising, but very effective way to get some well-deserved “peace and quiet”.