Do you have a child who tends to shout out what he wants to say, or speak louder than necessary? It can be so frustrating! No matter how many times you ask your child to speak more quietly, he pops up the next time just as loud as ever.
If your child speaks too loudly, consider the following tips:
Have Your Child’s Hearing Checked
Speaking too loudly can be a sign of a hearing problem or difficulty in processing sounds. We all tend to adjust our volume based on cues in the environment, and if your child has difficulty hearing you, he or she might speak louder to compensate. Consult your pediatrician or a hearing specialist as soon as you can. Many hearing issues can be corrected with early intervention.
Check the Noise Level in Your Home
A child may speak louder as a reaction to an environment that has a lot of background noise. Is the radio on high in your home? Is there machinery in the yard that needs to be shut down? Perhaps you can adjust the volume of these distractions so that your child can quiet down. Or maybe you have a large and boisterous family and your child has to compete to be heard over the din. You may not be able to get everyone to lower their voices but you can try. Most importantly, be aware of your own voice and check whether YOU are raising your voice in order to be heard as well. You might be inadvertently providing the loud model. If so, work on lowering your volume. See what you can do to get people to listen to you when you are talking in a normal tone and volume (consider reading Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice by Sarah Chana Radcliffe for tips on this subject).
Teach Your Child about “Indoor” and “Outdoor” Voices
Expect kids in the playground to be noisy — after all, being as loud as you can is one of the perks of playing outside! When your child has been playing outdoors for awhile, it’s not impossible that he or she will get used to high volume when speaking. Gently but firmly explain that there is a difference between acceptable volumes when inside the home and outside the home — the indoor and outdoor voice. You can even make a game out of it!
Consider if Your Child is Struggling with Speaking
When a child is first learning to speak, or to socialize with family and friends, it’s not unusual for some awkwardness in execution to exist. Your child may be unintentionally speaking too loudly; he or she may simply be struggling with getting the right volume out. If this is the case, training your child on speaking in different volumes can help. You can act out each voice — soft whisper, conversational tone, and shouting from across the room. With constant practice, kids will eventually learn how to adjust their own volume.
Take Your Child to a Speech Therapist
Speech therapists can assess and treat excessive loudness. They teach kids how to breath properly so that they don’t need to shout to get their message heard. They can help kids whose voices have become hoarse from shouting. They teach kids to be more aware of how they use they voice and they show them how to gain control over it.
If you’ve asked the child to speak more quietly and you’ve tried speech therapy and there is still a problem, the child may have a psychological issue that requires attention. Sometimes speaking too loudly, especially if your child used to speak in a level tone before, may be a sign of anxiety. Perhaps your child is trying to get your attention; maybe he or she doesn’t think you’re listening. It’s also possible that he or she is afraid and nervous, and is trying to keep a brave front by speaking louder than usual. If this is the case, it’s best to surface what it is that’s stressing your child, so that it can be addressed. Either try chatting with the child one-on-one to see if anything is bothering her or take her to a child psychologist for an assessment and if necessary, treatment.