How to Get a Child to Talk Softly

By Kathryn Hatter
Turn down the volume by teaching kids how to talk indoors.
Turn down the volume by teaching kids how to talk indoors.

When kids get excited or worked-up, their indoor voices often fly out the window. Even adults have the tendency to raise their voices when they're anxious or angry, but kids seem to hang out a little closer to this melting point. If you’re tired of your eardrums buzzing from loud and raucous kid voices, help your little one learn to control the volume more effectively.

Turn your own volume down so you’re talking at a soft and mellow volume level to your kid. When you model the behavior you want, your little one will be more likely to follow your example.

Take your tot outside and conduct a comparison of loud and soft voices. Do a little yelling together and notice how loud these voices sound. Now go back inside and talk in hushed voices. Ensure that your little one notices the huge difference between loud outdoor voices and soft indoor voices.

Notice whenever your kid talks softly in an indoor voice and heap on the praise. Positive reinforcement often works like magic to get more of the same behavior when your kid sees how happy you are with him.

Ignore your child when she talks to you in a loud or rowdy voice. As you’re training your child, you might say something like, “I’m so sorry! I can’t hear you when you’re not using your soft, indoor voice. Will you try again more softly so I can hear you?”

Maintain your expectations about soft, indoor voices and loud, outdoor voices consistently. As you insist that your child talks softly indoors by only listening to soft talking, he’ll eventually learn that you want him to talk softly.


According to a University of Connecticut website, parents should give directives positively instead of negatively. Instead of saying “No yelling,” say, “Please talk softly.” It’s common for little kids to hear only the final word in a sentence. In the first negative sentence, the final word is “yelling” and in the positive sentence, the final word is “softly.” The positive sentence will create more compliance and get your message across more effectively. Take your kids outside and run them around if you find that they’re amping up the volume and can’t be quiet. This might be a case of simply too much energy that they need to burn off outdoors.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.