Screaming for fun

Jessica - posted on 08/21/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My son loves to scream - especially in public places. Does anyone have any quick fixes to quiet a screamer down, so the entire store/restaurant/etc. does not suffer also? These are things I have tried and have been unsuccessful:
* Removing him from the place where he is screaming
* Getting on his level and sternly but quietly telling him, "NO, we don't scream."
* Tapping his mouth or squeezing his cheeks (that just makes him laugh)

He has been a screamer since around 6 months due to another screamer at daycare. He is no longer there, but the habit is. The screaming has gotten worse in the last month or so. I need some tricks! Thanks!

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Vicki - posted on 08/21/2010

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Ah, the "indoor voice." I know many children, heck even adults too, who have never mastered this. Behaviour in public is a tricky one sometimes.

You have the right idea by leaving the area the misbehaviour is taking place and letting him know it is inappropriate. You can give a warning, as they are now able to understand simple consequences, but you must always follow through, always. Rather than saying, "Don't scream," try saying, "Talk quietly." It makes a difference with my boy.

Also, take time to practice. When you're at a playground for instance, indicate that you can be LOUD!! Be loud together! Then change to whispering. Playing a game to practice quiet and loud voices really helps to learn the difference. It takes time. Let him know when it's acceptable to be loud and when it is not. And most importantly, as this is most often forgotten, remember to praise him when he's quiet.

Make sure to tell him what is expected beforehand, too. If you're visiting the library, remind him that this is a quiet place. Again, practice using a quiet voice before you arrive. And give him one warning before you have to leave if he begins to shout. Sometimes the excitement can be overwhelming, and it is easy to forget.

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