My 6-year-old is loud. Like really, really loud. If he’s not talking to me, he’s singing, chatting to himself, tapping on tables, and overall just making noise.
Lots of noise.
Unfortunately, noise is one of my yelling triggers.
I get overwhelmed when I can’t hear myself think.
I get annoyed when my thoughts are interrupted and I have to push the pause button.
I find it exhausting to constantly remind him to be quiet.
Just the other morning, I didn’t wake up before my boys, like I usually do. I slept in and missed out on the quiet morning time I love.
I woke up feeling a little anxious about facing a day that was full of tasks on my to-do list, scheduled activities for the kids, and very little time for me to find a moment of peace.
Part of me thought “take a little more time to organize your thoughts in the quiet of your room before going downstairs.”
However, the need to get started with my day took over. As I walked downstairs to make my morning coffee, my son greeted me with a warm hug and proceeded to chatter about everything his morning had entailed.
He told me about the play by play of the show he watched, the colors he was using to color his super hero picture, the details of his dream the night before. On and on he went, happy as can be.
I love that he likes to express himself and share each and every thought and experience with me and well…really anyone around him, so I don’t want to squash his exuberance.
However, I got overwhelmed and frustrated with such an outpouring of chatter, especially so early in the morning. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and responded with “um-hum”. But all I wanted to do was get to the coffee pot and have a few minutes of quiet.
Obviously, my son and I have different ideas about how to start our days.
I enjoy the quiet, thrive on it really, as it is also the necessary fuel that helps me face the world and stay energized for anything that comes my way.
I need quiet, he needs noise. So I do things that protect my senses from his onslaught of noise.
I tune him out, especially when he’s singing, chatting to himself, and tapping on the tables. I really don’t mean to, but it’s been the easiest way to let him be him and me be me.
I honestly don’t notice until he says”Mom, what do you think?”, “Mom, are you even listening?”
Oops! Were you talking to me? Cue the mom guilt.
Worse than the ignoring is the anger.
The dryer running, TV shows playing, children zooming their cars on the hardwood floors, microwave beeping, it’s just too much for my head sometimes. Add in a child who’s constantly making noise and I feel like a ticking timebomb waiting to explode.
So, to help me survive living with a loud child I’ve implemented a few strategies.
Turn down background noise
Have you ever noticed that the louder your environment is, the harder it is to concentrate? I know this may seem like a trick question, but sometimes in the face of our experience we don’t pay attention to the background noise. In the times when my son is being loud and I find my thoughts scattered, pulse racing, and anger rising I check the other noises that are adding to my discomfort. I make sure the TV and music is off and the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer are off as well.
Whisper when I talk
It’s human nature to match the tone of others, so when I whisper, he will usually lower the volume of his voice too. Not only does this help decrease the noise, it has also become a fun thing to do together. What starts out as a reduction in volume has even turned into a game occasionally. Sometimes we see who can be the quietest. Sometimes we play secret agents. Sometimes we even pretend that we are cats on the prowl.
Have Loud Time
I set aside time during the day where we are loud. We turn up the music to sing and dance, we make silly noises at each other and will even scream. When he’s really loud, we go outside and scream as loud as we can. By doing this, he has a wonderful outlet, I can release stress, and we both have fun!
Even with all these tricks, he can still be loud during times when I need him to be quiet (Like when I’m on a phone call!)
Those times, I’ll remind him that I really need it to be quiet, and if he can’t be quiet, he can either go to his room or outside and I’ll come get him when I’m done.
It’s about working together.
It’s about teaching boundaries and learning that people need it to be quiet sometimes.