Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Shhh...How Do You Teach Young Children To Whisper?

We all know that a noisy room can be a happy place. But there are times when quiet is needed. Turning off the lights or saying, "Shhh..." gets tiresome and children often ignore these cues. Giving directions like, "Whisper please," or "Use a quiet voice" may not work because preschoolers often do not know when they are being loud. Some do not even know the meaning of whisper!

But there are a few easy ways to help children learn to whisper.

One of the most important things teachers and families can do is to speak softer than children. When a room is noisy, a teacher's loud voice means very little when added to the din. Try whispering. Children will stop and wonder what is being said. It is amazing how quickly an adult's quiet voice can calm a room.

Have children practice whispering. When asking them to repeat words, recite poems, or sing songs have them do these activities using various "voices." They can squeak, speak in a low voice, or whisper. This lets them experiment with various ways to use their voices.

You can also give them a tangible way to check the volume of their voices. Have children place 2 fingers on their necks as shown below.

Ask them to say their names in a regular voice. They can feel the vibration here. But when they whisper, there is no vibration. Call this a "voice motor." Children can be told to check their voice motors when they are too loud. Even just holding up your 2 fingers and catching a child's eyes, will let them know they need to whisper.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.B.03
Head Start - II.C.

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