How to get your kids to shut up immediately

Shutterstock.com/ Anatoliy Karlyuk

Children are a huge blessing. They are the gift that keeps on giving. Every moment with a child is a moment filled with joy. That is all true but it is also true that sometimes we just need them to shut up. If you are trying to talk to your neighbor about something serious, or are on a Zoom work call these are moments when you can’t entertain your child, you just need them to stop talking and quickly. There is one technique that we all turn to, the shush. We hope that by putting our finger to our mouth and shouting SHUSHHHHH at our child they will magically stop talking. We are always annoyed when it doesn’t work but why would it? When a child is talking it is because it wants attention if we say shush, we are giving it attention. Even if your child stops talking for a moment the noise will soon return as they will quickly crave that attention again. So how can we get our kids to shut up quickly?

The answer, of course, depends on the situation. If you know you have a work call at 2 pm then you can prepare beforehand. You can set up your child with an activity or with their favorite show and ensure they will be captivated long enough for you to finish your work. Yet sometimes you get a call that you didn’t plan for and let’s face it those are usually the ones that are really important where a distraction will hurt the most. There are some tricks other than shushing that you can use.

In the end, it all comes down to training. It is wrong to treat your child like a pet but in the early years, you can manipulate them in similar ways. To create immediate silence when you are on the phone you need to have pre-trained them about a game. The game can be many things depending on what your child is like. It could be “ The Ninja Game”, “The Hidden Princess”, “The Superhero”, whatever appeals to the particular imagination of your child.

The idea is simple someday when you are not on a call tell your child about a game. Explain to him or her that you want to play a game about ninjas, they will be excited. Say that you will need to use hand signals to communicate as the ninjas could be hiding anywhere and could be listening. You are the leader of the defense so when you put up the hand signal for silence it means the ninjas are attacking and the quiet stealth must begin. When you put up a different signal it means that the coast is clear and talking can resume. You then need something to captivate your child while this game is on.

If you simply silence them and go about your business they will get bored, so you need a couple of signals that tell them they must engage in an activity. If they love lego then you could hold up nine fingers to indicate they must build something with 9 pieces to stop the ninja. If you hold up a pen it could mean that they have to draw a picture of what they think the ninja looks like. All of these activities will keep your child preoccupied so that you can have your call. You need to play these games a few times when you are not busy at work to ensure it runs smoothly and work out little games to keep them preoccupied.

Change the games regularly from ninjas to superheroes to princesses to ensure they are still captivated and not getting too bored. Once they know the way the game works they will leave in silence and peace as long as after the call you are excited to look through their work and celebrate at the successful eradication of the ninja army. Do this and you will have a quiet and happy child for at least 20 minutes.