Noisy kids can be irritating, but a parent’s relationship with their child is more important than other people’s judgments.
Screaming kids have a way of destroying patience. It’s even worse in public when parents have to contend with judgmental looks from the people around them. Eventually, a parent may want to clap their hand over the kid’s mouth to make them quiet. Some parents are aghast at this. Some parents are glad someone finally did something. But cover a kid’s mouth may be teaching lessons that are going to complicate parenting later on, according to Dr. Wendela Whitcomb Marsh, a board-certified behavior analyst.
“First, it sends the message that the child is incapable of quieting down on their own and requires adult intervention,” says Marsh. “Second, it sends a message that it is okay for bigger, stronger people to physically enforce their will on younger, smaller people. Third, children imitate and learn from observing their parents’ behavior.”
This last point is particularly chilling. March encourages parents to consider the consequences of a child mimicking clasping a hand over another child’s mouth. The behavior could be at least problematic in preschool. But it could be potentially harmful to a baby sibling, for instance.
So, clapping a hand over the kid’s pie hole sets a bad precedent. How, then, should parents quiet down a loud kid? Marsh suggests four steps, bearing the somewhat-unwieldy name of the Four Ss: Stop, Squat, Shhh, and Sing.
Four Step to Quieting Down a Noisy Kid
- STOP: Parents should stop what they’re doing and pay attention to their child. Are they excited? Upset? Hungry? In pain?
- SQUAT: When parents get down to their child’s level and look them in the eye, it lets the kid feel appreciated and helps the parents…
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