Whispering Magic

Thinking back to all the times when I was in a classroom or a house full of kids who were all running around and screaming their little heads off I suddenly remembered the one thing that turned yelling into quiet voices. I whispered.

Now you might think that whispering in a room full of screaming kids wouldn’t have much impact, but I’ve found that screaming is the thing that makes the least impact. The kids just thought I was playing along with their game and continued to scream unless I really lost it, which I later felt bad about.

Instead, I did the opposite and got an almost immediate response. First I thought of a secret to tell. Then I went over to the loudest child and tapped her on the shoulder cupping my hands around my mouth as if I were about to whisper. Then I whispered the secret to her. Usually my secret had something to do with a delicious snack waiting for them in the other room or a really fun game or activity I had planned, but inevitably, the whisper was the thing that made the biggest difference.

My daughter has stopped nursing herself to sleep when she’s going to bed at night and instead prefers to cuddle to sleep. But if she’s really squirming and unsettled I simply begin to whisper a story to her and she’s often asleep within minutes. Sometimes she’ll whisper parts of the story back to me, but she ALWAYS stills her body and listens intently. It really doesn’t matter what the story is about, it can even be gibberish, the important thing is that the message I’m sending with my whispering is that it’s time to relax and rest now. And the message comes across loud and clear…or quiet and clear in this case. ?

I’ve even used whispering to stop a child from screeching wildly when she didn’t get what she wanted. Sure there are times when it’s important to allow a child to fully express her upset, but this particular child was using the screeching as a way to get my attention. So I gave her my attention, but I changed the rules of the game. Whenever she screeched, I would walk up to her, whisper in her ear, and then if the screeching continued, I would walk away. She almost always followed behind me whispering about the topic of choice. Because it wasn’t screaming that she most needed in that moment, it was my full attention.

I know it can be difficult to remember this when you’re in a room full of people who are yelling to be heard, but sometimes going against the grain and doing the opposite of what the crowd is doing is the perfect way to shift the dynamic.

My husband and I even use this technique when we’re dining in a very loud restaurant. If I can’t hear him, I just slide into the booth on his side of the table and we snuggle up and talk quietly to one another. Often, the noise level in the whole restaurant will go down. I’m not really sure why it works, but I’m sure glad it does!

So the next time you’re in a room full of loudness, try whispering and see what happens. I would love to hear how it goes. Please share your story with me in the comment box below.

And have a fantastic week, Shelly

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