Whispering: The Magical Trick for Getting Kids to Listen

It all started one afternoon while walking the kids home from school. We stopped to smell the roses – literally – when my younger (but stronger) son pushed his older sister over to get a better spot. I lost it and I yelled at him for what felt like forever. By the time I was done, all three of us were exhausted. But there was only one adult in this equation … and it was me. I later vowed to find a less stressful way to handle situations like this in the future.

After researching the effects of yelling to discipline, I realized my earlier actions weren’t very helpful. But while I was reading, I also came across a magical trick that is known to disperse tension and get kids to focus: whispering.

Whispering, of course, had never crossed my mind as a method to get my kids to focus.

So I tested the whispering trick with my own kids, as an alternative to yelling, and here are my non-scientific mom findings:

The Effectiveness of Whispering Over Yelling

Yelling shuts down communication: Does their behavior often warrant correction? Yes. Do I speak loudly to ensure they’re listening and to keep them safe? Absolutely. But the most important thing I learned from whispering is that yelling hinders communication with my children, which is the opposite of what I’m trying to do here!

You have to work hard to hear a whisper: Especially during tantrums or otherwise chaotic situations – it’s amazing what whispering can do! Instead of yelling, getting down on their level and using a whisper piques their interest, plus, they have to be quiet to hear what mom’s trying to say!

A prolonged whisper reduces chaos: When I whispered for more than a couple sentences, I found that my kids were more inclined to play or read independently (and quietly!). This goes for all noise pollution in our house. Less noise and disruption gives way to more focused play time, meaning more quiet time for mom!

Whispering models healthy problem solving: Whispering has given me a way to teach my kids effective problem-solving techniques. Before I whisper, I take a deep breath (which is cathartic, too) and think about what I’m about to say. Typically it’s me whispering: “Okay, how are we going to solve this issue?”

Make no mistake – this is a work in progress. I still raise my voice occasionally. Any mom reading this knows some days are better than others. Still, whispering has given me another great way to communicate with my kids. It’s more effective and requires way less energy than raising my voice. That’s mom magic!

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