All parents have experienced the desire for their child to speak in an ‘indoor voice’ when an ‘outdoor voice’ seems to be all their child wants to use. Modulating voice is an important skill for kids to learn. Read on for possible reasons your child may use a voice that is too loud and for ways to help her find a softer pitch.
Strategies to quiet a too loud kid:
Is your child too loud during times of great excitement or frustration? In groups? In new places?
If your child’s loudness tends to be predictable and related to a particular time, place or activity, it is possible that her loudness is serving a purpose. You should help her replace volume with a more appropriate way to get attention, expel excited energy, or express frustration.
Is your child able to tell the difference between a loud and soft voice?
- Some children just don’t know what ‘too loud’ or ‘make a soft voice’ means. These are terms that need to be explicitly taught. Teaching this is really fun. Come up with a list of voice ‘types’ to teach and practice (think silly: monster voice, squeaky voice, baby voice.)
- Be sure to include the type of target voice you want your child to have-soft, and the voice she’s currently using-loud. Name these voices whatever you like and create a visual to go with it.
- Practice making each of these voices together and then have your child judge your voices. Once she has them all down, talk about where you hear each voice or where she should use each voice. Then, have your child practice. Ask her to use a voice for the library, for the playground, or for whatever situation you will be in.
Does your child lose her voice frequently?
Loss of voice or a frequently hoarse-sounding voice is telling of what is called ‘vocal abuse’ or inefficient use of the voice system when talking. Think Tom Thibodeau at his worst or the sound of your voice when you have a cold. Frequent hoarseness or loss of voice suggests that a child may be at risk for vocal nodules (blisters on the vocal folds) or other vocal pathologies. This child may require a referral to ENT or may need the help of a speech-language pathologist to minimize her risk and to learn healthy voice behaviors.