Simple Trick to Quiet Your Kids

Tonight, just after dinner, we were all upstairs in the master bedroom and the kids had our TV on for some quiet time. Except they weren’t quiet yet. They were a bit excited, and making plenty of noise.

I hardly ever mind the noise, except that my wife and I were trying to have a conversation. She was washing her face in the bathroom and I was only 6 feet away with the kids, beside the bed. My wife was trying to say something, but it was literally impossible to hear her.

I asked the kids, politely, to “listen to Mommy”, but it didn’t work. Pretty normal so far, right? Yes. But this is where my style starts to divert from the “normal” way of dealing with kids.

You see, I understand that if I keep asking my kids to be quiet, they’ll keep making noise. Then, I’ll get irritated and start nagging them. I might even shout if I got really upset!

Years ago, while I was learning about NLP, I learned a saying. It goes like this: The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing while expecting different results. I learned this from Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker guru. But I’m pretty sure he didn’t invent the expression.

But back to the story. What did I do instead? I made use of an Ericksonian hypnosis technique called “utilization”. Dealing with your kids is not hypnotherapy, but the principle still applies. In short the concept is to “utilize” what your child is giving you. In this case, my kids wanted to be the ones talking. My oldest was by far the loudest. She really wanted to be in control. So I gave her a simple task, relating to an upcoming vacation, that would put her in control while also getting her to listen.

What task? Well, we’re leaving for a vacation to Cuba in a few days, and my kids are very excited. They know that people speak Spanish in Cuba. So, I told my daughter, “Sweetheart – tell mommy to say something in Spanish”. I had a feeling she’d go along with this. She did, and my wife said something in Spanish. I have no idea what she said but it sounded cool … one day I will master that language!

Next, I said to my daughter, “Ok great – now tell mommy to repeat what she was saying before”. What happened? My daughter complied. She asked my wife to repeat herself, and then she sat back and listened.

Mission accomplished. Instead of yelling at my kids to be quiet, I simply utilized their desire to be in control. If you are a customer of my audio course, then you may also notice I used a compliance set. Put another way, I used an unconscious reframe to get my kids to see themselves as being in control because they were listening to something *they* had asked for.

Maybe I’m a bit “weird” to suggest that techniques of hypnosis and influence can be successfully used to get children to act appropriately. Maybe … but I prefer to think that it’s weird to keep asking your kids to be quiet and expecting that suddenly they are going to listen. Not gonna happen. Try something new.

My advice to parents is simple. Pay attention to what your kids seem to want, and give it to them in a way that satisfies their needs and your own. You’ll avoid fights, stress, and you will all be a lot happier.

I hope this example was helpful to you. If it was, imagine how much you’ll enjoy my free audio lesson.

Enjoy your children,
Chris Thompson

SEE ALSO: This audio lesson will forever change the way you interact with your kids

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19 Responses to Simple Trick to Quiet Your Kids

  1. mylittlecuddles January 20, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    OK, so now your kids are listening to your wife, but when did you get to have your adult conversation?

  2. josejk January 20, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Well I do think that your efforts in the direction of reducing the noice and getting control over the children was successful to the turn of engaging them, but my apprehension is that children cannot concentrate on one thing for a long duration. Moreover, how do you get the pricey that you need by keeping them engaged or in clearer words by spending that time with the children, the time you wanted to spend with your spouce. I don't understand kindly clarify……

  3. Joann Woolley January 20, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    I love this example! Seems like it would really work with my 4 year old. The only problem I see is I have to be quick on my feet to think something up.

  4. burrowingowl January 20, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    Chris, these blog posts are helpful in bringing me back to the lessons from the course, without feeling like I'm studying. @Josejk, I have very similar concerns about ADD and finding time to be with my spouse. However, I think what Chris is offering are more like battlefield tactics. He's not out to solve all our problems as parents. As you probably know well, the difference between a good day and a bad day can be getting in just a few minutes of clear communication with your spouse. In that sense, he solved a problem quickly and kept things going smoothly. Consider that the opposite would be a blow-out over relatively minor disobediance, possibly with yelling, doling out punishment, and in the end not communicating sufficiently with his wife about the trip they're about to take.

  5. lovemylittleredhead January 20, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    What about phone conversations? We can not always involve the kids in those situations and my four year old waits for the minute I'm on the phone to start testing how loud his voice really is. Even if I talk with him beforehand and set him up with something fun to do for the few minutes I need quiet.

  6. Chris Thompson January 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    We were able to complete our conversation while the kids listened. Then they enjoyed some quiet time watching “Little Bear”, one of their favorite cartoon shows before bed. Don't expect to be able to get your kids to be quiet for the whole evening, but even a few minutes when you really need it is very helpful.

  7. Chris Thompson January 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Josejk – I didn't fully understand your question. You suggested that kids can't concentrate on one thing for very long. Sometimes that's true. But often it is not true, in my experience. For example, have you ever noticed how a child can be fascinated by a TV show? They are absolutely concentrating on something for quite a long time in such a situation. Kids can concentrate as long as their interest is held. If you make things interesting, they will pay attention.

  8. Chris Thompson January 20, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Joann – thanks for the reply! Yes, you do have to be quick-thinking. This comes with practice. It's not immediately obvious what to say, but it doesn't take THAT long to learn.

    Remember when you were learning to speak a language? You had to think about everything before you said it. Now, you don't think. You speak and then you realize what you just said. It's the same thing with any skill. You learn it, you have to concentrate to use it, and eventually you realize you know it an an unconscious level.

  9. Chris Thompson January 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    Exactly! Thank you SO much for making that point clear! If we simply stay flexible in our thinking, we can come up with much better solutions than we'd otherwise have access to.

  10. Chris Thompson January 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Great question. That's a different scenario. I'm going to keep this in mind for another blog post down the road. Thanks for the idea. Multiple ways to solve this problem exist.

  11. Kerry January 20, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    Great ideas :) Thank you!
    They've proven to be very useful at our house

  12. Chris Thompson January 20, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Kerry – thanks a ton for the comment. I really appreciate knowing that my lessons have helped you.

  13. Amanda January 22, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Hi Chris
    I hope this blog post is not too far down the road as my husband & I are both having diificulties with being able to make phone calls…

  14. imanismail January 22, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    very helpful, and it is very true..i discovered that this way is the best and also i add with it that if they are being loud or doing something naugthy to do this technique or; if what they r doing is not going actually to harm them or me in a way or another ok, then let them do it instead of repeating the same words as u said and they don't listen…..but still, sometimes it is really hard to take time and think!!

  15. caroline3636 January 23, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    i undertand the concept completly but where do plain old fahioned manners come into play here?
    whats wrong with saying ” hey quiet im trying to listen to mommy and you are being rude.' I have a hard time letting my kids “feel” they are in control all the time even if they are not, its a tough world out there, they need to learn that it does not always go their way start teaching it now as children or else they will grow up to be spoiled unhappy adults.I am certainly not a drill sergent
    my kids are little 3 and 5 but they are well mannered because we expect it of them

  16. jasy January 23, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    i like it

  17. Chris Thompson January 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    I agree. You can't use what I teach as a complete rip-and-replace for every other tool you already have. This is supplemental stuff. I find that around the age of 3 (perhaps a bit younger), kids start to understand rational explanations of proper behavior, vs improper behavior. BUT – they still get massively caught up in the emotions, and the rational discussion fades VERY fast. You need a bag of tricks. I'm not a drill sergent either, but I'm also not a softy. When I expect certain behavior, my kids know it.

  18. shrutikings March 29, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    Very nice! I tried this with my kids, and lo! they listened to me!
    Thanks 4 sharing this.

  19. shrutikings March 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Very nice! I tried this with my kids, and lo! they listened to me!
    Thanks 4 sharing this.

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