Toddler speaks too loud? Here are 9 ways to manage

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — November 22, 2019
  • Why does your little one like to yell or use a shouting voice?
    1 / 10 Why does your little one like to yell or use a shouting voice?

    This habit can be very annoying, especially when you are in a public place such as a library, restaurant or supermarket.

    The disapproving sounds of passers-by just makes it more embarrassing.

    Even at home, his tone probably hurts your ears and upsets his siblings. Your toddler isn’t out to make you angry.

    Perhaps this is his way of communicating with you, or maybe he has discovered that talking very loudly gets an immediate reaction from those around him.

    Here’s how you can help him tone it down.

    Related: Toddler discipline: 8 steps to control kid’s tantrums at parties

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  • Reassure him
    2 / 10 Reassure him

    He needs to understand that your displeasure doesn’t mean you disapprove of his talking.

    Tell him you’re proud that he’s stringing more words together, but you don’t like the way he raises his voice.

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  • Avoid screaming
    3 / 10 Avoid screaming

    You may be tempted to stop his yelling by giving him a taste of his own medicine, but that just won’t work.

    If anything, it will probably have the opposite effect.

    Shouting back at him sets a bad example for him to follow. The more you scream, the more he’ll thinks that it is acceptable behaviour.

    Related: 5 ways to discipline your child without screaming

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  • Ignore his yells
    4 / 10 Ignore his yells

    Of course this is extremely difficult to do, particularly when you’re surrounded by strangers in the supermarket.

    But make up your mind to do this anyway.

    Ignoring his screams reduces the amount of positive reinforcement he receives from this behaviour.

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  • Speak quietly
    5 / 10 Speak quietly

    When you respond, use a quiet, calm voice. No matter how loud he is, maintain the same soft tone yourself.

    He will spontaneously quieten down in order to hear what you have to say.

    8 secrets to toddler discipline 

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  • Explain what’s wrong
    6 / 10 Explain what’s wrong

    At this age, he probably hasn’t thought much about the way people speak in different tones and volumes depending on where they are.

    Tell him, for instance, that he should speak quietly when he is in a church or restaurant, because his screaming could disturb other people.

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  • Praise non-screaming
    7 / 10 Praise non-screaming

    Give words of encouragement when your one-year-old doesn’t shout. Watch him closely and wait for that moment when he talks to you in a normal voice.

    Then give him a big cuddle for behaving this way. Tell him that you’re so pleased he used a quiet voice, and reward him with praise, attention and hugs.

    Related: Why you should discipline your one-year-old


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  • Practise speaking quietly
    8 / 10 Practise speaking quietly

    Use pretend-play to help your tot learn to speak in an appropriate tone. For instance, you could pretend you are having a chat together in a library, so both of you should use a quiet voice.

    Keep this fun, do it regularly until you think he understands better. He will start to become more aware of his surroundings.

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  • Remind him in advance
    9 / 10 Remind him in advance

    Before you leave home for an outing, repeat what you’ve been practising with him.

    Check if he understands what is expected of him.

    Be ready to give him another reminder just as you arrive at your destination.

    Related: How to discipline child in public

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  • Show your patience
    10 / 10 Show your patience

    In his excitement, for instance, about sitting on a plane, he might become oblivious to those around him.

    Despite all your training, advanced warnings and recent reminders, the thrill of the occasion might trigger his yelling.

    Gently point out again that he should talk in a quiet voice, just as the both of you practised at home.


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