How to Get My 2 Year Old to Use Indoor Voice?

Updated on August 26, 2008
K.M. asks from Meridian, ID
14 answers

I have a 2-year old boy who has always seemed to have a higher volume level when he talks. Daddy is the same way but obviously knows how to control the volume level of his voice! We have a newborn in the house and his constant chattering at sometimes deafening levels wakes her up - not to mention it's just exhausting to hear that all day long. His hearing is just fine, so we know it's not that.

Two questions:
1. What are some methods you mamas have used to encourage an "indoor" voice?

2. How can I teach him to stop talking? Right now, he chatters non-stop and repeats things over and over until we acknowledge him and then sometimes continues. We are to blame for this habit because as we were teaching him to talk, we would constantly narrate what was going on - which is exactly what he does now. Now we need to teach him how to be (and stay) quiet when we ask. I understand there are limitations because he is 2, after all. What has worked for you mamas??


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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for the great advice! However, nothing seems to be working so far. I think we just need to accept the fact that he is a loud child and hopefully our baby girl can just learn to live with the noise.

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answers from Provo on

Teach him to be loud like an Elephant-outside, use a soft voice like a feather-inside, and be quite like a mouse-inside liabrary, ect. Sometimes definitions like these and frequent reminders help. Good luck.

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answers from Casper on

Getting them to use the correct voice actually requires them experimenting with the other voices that they have. Decide what kinds of voices that you need him to have----quiet voice (for church and things like that), an inside voice, an outside voice and I even have a library voice (different from the quiet voice because they can talk just a little louder). Then let them use those voices. Go outside and have everyone use their best outside voice and practice them. Then do the same with each of their voices. Then after he understand the differences you can start asking him to use a certain voice and model it too when you ask and expect him to use that voice. If he doesn't use that voice then there needs to be a consequence---only one story instead of two or something appropriate for the situation. Show him the range of things that this wonderful gift can do and show him the proper use of it and he will do wonderful.
J.--SAHM of 6

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answers from Cheyenne on

I am laughing like crazy reading your post- let us know what works for you- I have 3 yr old twins, one of which is the same way-- has been since he started talking!

I also have a baby he will wake up! I feel for you!



answers from Denver on

1. I learned mas tranquillo (spelling?) when teaching. I quietly say "mos tranquilo, por favor" while holding my hand parallel tot he ground and lowering it. I have used this for many years and my now two and four year olds know it by heart and act appropriately. their friends also respond well once we tell them what it means. Actully lower your body as you say it too as you are teaching him (or other similar cue phrase). Prctice this over and over in all situations. let us see who can walk into the store the quietest...then blurt out. "oops, mommy lost, bummer." He'll laugh so hard. Eventually, around three, you can bring in the talk about respecting others with our actiions...but do provide appropriate loud times and let him know that it is the time. We just go out in the yard and yell out for five minutes every once in a while.

2. gosh I know this. My nearly three year old boy never shuts up either. He has a high vocabulary so I am so proud. We have "quiet time" now that naps are getting irregular. I tell my four year old that she is welcome to stay up and play...but I am not talking to her. I need to my work so that when quiet time is over, we are engaged. And be engaged. Not sure I really know when and how this happened. And it is still a work in progress. but it gives me a language to say I just need some silence for a minute to figure things out. My kids pretty much know that when I am driving, cooking (they are not allowed n the kitchen because of the hot stuff and I step on them), on the phone, or during quiet time...I need a quiet space to function properly. I guess I an very honest and open about what i need with my children. Then i liste to them and return the favor. They are learning to give me sapce while I cook and then clean up the kitchen after. and I will engage them in conversation during the meal and riht as soon as I am done (we often take a walk around the block or play a game as soon as kitchen is cleaned and lunches made. So the key is to slowly train your son to recognize engaged times and quiet times. Create cues, parctice in the form of a game. and give hime at minimum 30 minutes of silent one on one time (and your hubby too). I just noticed you have an older daughter...she can be a great teacher too. she probably needs time to day dream and be alone so start with that. On the weekends, set up quiet hour when the baby is sleeping. Everyone should be in their rooms and just learn to be allone. this will help them as electronics. Teach them and then set your expectation. and who knows...maybe in a couple of months, you and your hubby and sneak in your room and have an hour of 'alone" time.



answers from Salt Lake City on

A great response to loud talkers is: I'm sorry, I cannot understand you because you're too loud. Will try again with a softer voice so my ears and hear you?

You can also, hold your ears and pretend they REALLY HURT when he talks with a loud voice, ask him to kiss your ears, and then really soft (quiet, gentle, whatever word works for him) tell you again.

If you have a loud TV: STOP IT.

If someone in your house talks loud: refer to the response above--please lower your voice so I can better understand.

Start whispering to your child when you speak.

Be sure you respond quickly (with 90 seconds) of your child's request of your time. Believe me, this is FAR reaching, when they're older--like your 13 yr old, you want them to understand a quick response time. If you teach them that waiting for an answer is how it is to be, that's what they'll give you on an extreme measure later on.

As far as the narration, try directing that. Ask for specific information so he gives you that and then widdle it down. I don't know...maybe?? You can tell him: Oh, that's great (wonderful, fabulous, whatever you like) but I don't need that information right now. Perhaps, make a new game: Can you guess what I'm don't if I don't tell you??

You're right about the limited response because of being're likely to get extremes.

Well, anyway, I hope I had something you can use in this response.




answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi! It sounds like your son is begging for attention, Its easy to get wrapped upin the new baby. Read "The Five Love Languages Of Children" By Gary Chapman. Also try giving him extra attention when he is being quit, and tell him the new baby needs his help, get him involved in small ways to help with her, so he dosn't feel left out.



answers from Salt Lake City on

i would whisper and encourage him to do the same. My mom would tell me to be quiet.



answers from Salt Lake City on


1. There are some wonderful reading books out there about being LOUD and being quiet. This will give your son more visionals and another voice to listen to (you may be sounding like a broken record to him)

2. Appreciate that your son is excited to share. Make sure that he knows that you heard him. Teach him that everyone gets to have a turn to talk. It makes it more enjoyable that way.

Wishing you all the best.
With my whole heart,
C. TLC (Transition Life Coach)



answers from Casper on

i just went through this with my 3 year old, and found out he can be quiet. what did i do? i am trying to remember here, i think i put him to bed or something like that. took something away, maybe. ok, here's what i did wrong though, i told him not to talk, he knows what i'm saying, and he wakes his brother up. so i'm totally mad, and need to go to the store, and at the store i go to take him out of his seat belt and hurt my finger in the process. i decided i couldn't deal with all that and being mad all at once. i got home and realized, i shouldn't have gone in the first place. he woke his brother up and he still got to go to the store. so that's the lesson. whatever is going on next, he gets to miss out on because he didn't use his quiet voice. it's easy to get the concept across. if you whisper, most kids will whisper too. if you shush him, he catches on to that also, particularly if you putyour hand over his mouth a few times. but if you dont' enforce it, it never happens.

you can't blame yourself for narrating. that's a natural way to teach a kid to talk, like you said. good luck. :D



answers from Fort Collins on


When my boys were little we made a habit for a while of being very loud and boisterous outside, but when we were inside we talk very normal and quiet.

Plus when they were asked to play quieter or be quiet so as not to wake the baby, and they didn't they were stood in the corner for a few minutes every time they didn't comply, they finally got the idea.

But the inside and outside voice works if you practically shout when you are outside and talk very low normal when inside. They finally get the idea.
Good Luck



answers from Fort Collins on

I feel your pain! My 3 1/2 year old chatters nonstop, and my 1 year old has just gotten into yelling. With the two of them yelling at each other, yelling for me, and just generally yelling, it gets pretty noisy at our house!

1. We remind them about indoor voices. I demonstrate for the kids "(whispering) This is an indoor voice. (yelling) This is an outdoor voice." I also tell them that if they want to use an outside voice, they need to go outside. Sometimes they go out on the back deck and holler, or do a lap around the back yard, and that's okay. We can't just tell our kids "NO;" I think we need to teach them healthy, socially-acceptable ways to get their squirreliness out.

2. When my kids start yelling, I whisper. I just started this in the past week or so, and I am totally amazed. I used to match them shout for shout, trying to be heard over the noise, and it just got horrible. Now I whisper, and within a few minutes, they start trying to hear me, then they start whispering too.

3. For the non-stop talking, we have started "quiet time." When I tell my daughter it is quiet time, she needs to stop talking. If she refuses to stop talking, then she can go talk to herself in her room. (Which she has done; it's hilarious!) If we are in the van and she won't stop talking, I turn on the radio and turn it up so I don't have to listen to her. She usually gets sick of the loud music after a minute or two and asks me to turn it down. I will warn you that we started this with my three year old. I'm not sure that a 2 year old is quite "there" yet. You will have to see how your own daughter responds.

Best of luck,



answers from Denver on

Quietly tell him to use his inside voice. I agree if you whisper he will in turn whisper back. I have tried this and it works. As for the chattering, good luck. Maybe if you acknowledge him sooner and don't repeat he will pick up on this and stop.



answers from Provo on

this is very normal for his age. it's not just because you narrated what was going on. it's because he's 2, can speak, and has energy. my oldest is 4 and i still have to remind him often (especially in the morning when he is excited to be awake but not everyone in the family is up) to lower his voice. i also have to remind him not to interrupt, to wait until i'm finished concentrating on something before telling me another story, or not to yell in the house for any reason. it helps to give them places and times when they are allowed to yell, like outside or at a ball game. something i have said before is, "when you yell/scream like that, i think that there is something wrong. so please save those loud sounds for when you are really in trouble and need my help." this may help, or he may be mischevious enough to make that into a game. :) another thing i've explained is that when he yells so loud that he wakes the baby, he gets no mommy time because i have to take care of the baby again, so please help me keep the baby sleeping by being quiet. that worked pretty well because he loved being able to have me to himself. good luck!



answers from Colorado Springs on

I laughed as I read this, too.

Our approach is similar to Julie's. I have 2 very loud boys.

I encourage them to use their "loud voice" when we are outside at the park or playing in the backyard.

I remind them to use their "normal voice" instead of their "loud voice" when we are inside.

And they use a "quiet voice" when needed - like the library or around a sleeping baby.

As for the chattering, we haven't really been able to reign that in so well. Basically, for the most part, we tolerate it as much as we can. Or we'll pass him off to the parent who has more patience at that moment. And they really talk to each other the most. When it is truly too much, we just ask for quiet time.

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