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Refuses to be Quiet

What to do:

Self-Talk. Say to yourself, "I don't like it when my child is loud when he needs to be quiet. But I can deal with it and teach her to be quiet when she needs to be."

Empathy. Tell yourself, "I understand that it's hard for my child to remember to be quiet when she needs to. I know how she feels. I have to remind myself to respect the people around me by using a quiet voice when I'm on my cellphone, just like she needs to be quiet in the library."

Teach. Tell yourself, "My child won't know that it's important to be quiet sometimes unless I teach her. That's my job!"

Help Your Child to Practice Empathy. When your daughter is being noisy when her grandpa is sleeping, for example, ask how she thinks Grandpa feels when she makes so much noise that it wakes him up. Ask, "How would you feel if people woke you up when you were sleeping? Being quiet shows that we care about the people who will be more comfortable if we don't make noise."

Model Quiet. Show your young child how you want her to behave. When at home in your apartment, for example, try to use your quiet voice all the time. In addition, your child will listen more attentively when you use a quiet voice.

Make Rules. Children need rules to provide limits, structure and security. When going to a "quiet zone", such as a library or religious chapel, tell your young child that the rules are to stay quiet, stay close, listen, and whisper.

Praise walking softly. Say, "Thank you for walking softly across the floor. I know the people in the apartment below us appreciate it when we are quiet."

Agree on a signal that reminds to "be quiet". Teach your child that putting your finger on your lips means that you want her to be quiet. Before going to the library, remind your child of the "finger on the lips" sign. Say, "Remember that the library is a "quiet zone". We need to use our quiet voices while there. So let's practice. Pretend that we are in the library. Let's both put our fingers on our lips so we will remember to be quiet."

Leave the Quiet Zone. Even after your reminders to use her quiet voice, your child may still not follow the rule. That tells you that your child needs more practice being quiet when needed. Say, "I'm sorry you aren't staying quiet. We have to leave now." Then practice at a neutral time, without getting angry, knowing that you are helping your child learn a lesson that will serve her well her whole life-to be respectful of rules in "quiet zones".

Play the Quiet Game. Set your phone timer for three minutes and say, "Let's stay as quiet as we can until we hear the timer sound." Whisper praise to your child during those three minutes by saying things such as, "You are behaving so quietly." Gradually increase the quiet time until you are comfortable she understands how to be quiet for long periods.

Plan Quiet Activities. When you want your child to be quiet for a longer time, have quiet activities available, such as picture books, markers and paper, or an electronic tablet, so your child can read/draw or play an educational game to keep her interest focused.

What not to do:

Don't Yell. It won't help your child learn appropriate behavior and models the opposite behavior from the quiet you want her to use.

Don't Go Places You Know Your Child Can't Handle. Because you understand that your child has difficulty staying quiet in "quiet zones", don't set her up to fail or to upset yourself. Instead, try not to go to "quiet zones" until you know that she has practiced following quiet rules when needed.

Don't Punish Noise. Don't hit, threaten, or punish your child in any way because he makes noise when you need quiet. Punishment doesn't teach him how to be quiet when necessary.

The authors and Raised with Love and Limits Foundation disclaim responsibility for any harmful consequences, loss, injury or damage associated with the use and application of information or advice contained in these prescriptions and on this website. These protocols are clinical guidelines that must be used in conjunction with critical thinking and critical judgment.