How To Keep A Calm Voice When You’re In A Hurry

calm voice

Picture this.

You're racing around, trying to get yourself and the kids out of the house. You ask your kids to put their shoes and socks on and go to brush your teeth.

When you get back only one child has put socks on, but not on themselves. No. They've put them on the dog.

So you tell them they need to put their shoes and socks on because you're leaving the house in two minutes.

You check you've got your keys, wallet and phone. No phone. Oh, it's there on the table.

You grab your phone, and look up, expecting to see your kids with their shoes and socks on.

But they're larking about.What? Why don't they listen? Don't they realise that you're trying to get places on time? Aaarrgh.

You're about to explode. You should have left the house five minutes ago.

You go to yell, but somehow you stop yourself.


Explain Instead Of YellIng

Yelling vents your frustration and stress, but it doesn’t help.

Not only does it upset your kids and leave you feeling guilty, but it doesn’t actually ‘work’. It won’t get you out the door fast.

It won’t get your kids into the car and settled.So what can you do? How can you get your message across?

Instead of yelling, take your kids by the hand, bend down and look them in the eye.

Quietly but firmly say, "I'm really concerned that I'm going to be late. I need you both to put your shoes and socks on. Now. Please do it quickly so we can leave the house."

If you speak calmly but firmly, they’re likely to do as you ask. No yelling. No tears. No drama.

And no guilt. Magic!

Look In The Mirror

Speaking calmly it simple and straightforward, but it's not easy. In fact, it's actually quite hard.

It can be difficult and challenging, and many people can't do it.

But you're clever, and you want the best for your kids, so you try hard to respond in a calm voice.

That's the best strategy: respond in a calm voice.

Sounds lame, right? And hard ... really hard. But it works.

If you respond calmly no matter what, you'll see a big difference in your kids.

You'll stop seeing that fearful look in their eyes when they make a mistake. You'll stop feeling so damn guilty about how you treat your kids.

And if you keep it up, you'll notice that your kids respond to each other more calmly.

Because here's the thing that no one will tell you: your kids are largely a reflection of you.

You've probably noticed this before, and it's true. If you get frustrated, bottle it up, and then explode and start yelling ... guess what? You'll see your kids doing the same thing.I know because I've done it.

But if you relax and respond calmly, your kids will start doing the same thing.

I know because I've done this, too. Your kids model you, but if you break the cycle and start modelling different behaviour, you'll change their behaviour too.

Pretty powerful, huh?

Stay Calm Strategies

If you're keen to make some changes in your house, here are some tips to help you start using your calm voice:

  • put stickers or post-it notes everywhere with CV or Calm Voice, to remind you
  • ask your kids to help you by letting them know you’re working on your calm voice. Ask them to tell you if your tone changes. My kids soon started saying “I like it when you speak in your soft voice, Mummy”
  • pretend you're at work, or that you have someone else’s children there, and respond as you would to them
  • don't take life so seriously – what is the worst that can happen? If dinner is a little late, or something gets spilled on the carpet, is it really worth damaging your relationship over it?
  • pretend you're hovering above the room, watching proceedings from a distance
  • imagine any frustrations as dark clouds hovering over you

And lastly, DO NOT, under any circumstances, beat yourself up if you slip up.

Parenting Isn't About Perfection

So you're not perfect.

Well, guess what? Imperfections make us human.Instead of perfect, aim for 'better than it was'.

Because parenting is not about perfection. It’s about realism.

The world is imperfect, and our role is to prepare our kids for the world.

Our kids need to understand and work with the imperfections around them.

They need to know that you’re doing your best. You’re trying to improve, but you’re a work in progress.

You are growing and learning, just like them.

And making mistakes is part of learning. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed.

It means we’re still trying.

And if we keep practicing, we’ll improve.

So practice using your calm voice, and you'll see results.

I promise.

Don't forget ...

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Cate is on a mission to help parents stop yelling and create families that listen to each other. She does this while imperfectly parenting two boisterous girls of her own, and learning from her mistakes. She has contributed to Tiny Buddha, Think Simple Now, A Fine Parent and many other awesome sites.