Your voice, the one you use to direct your children, teach your children, scold your children, and say loving things to your children is just like an instrument.
The VOLUME should constantly vary.
It shouldn’t be stuck on high at all times especially when you are the most upset. A lower setting forces children to lean in and listen far more carefully.
Now let’s talk about the TONE. Your tone can go from playful to stern and lots of registers in between. Take note of that. If you are constantly stuck on one tone that is less than light, step back, and assess what stressors keep recurring. Why are you using a harsh or firm tone so much? Is it really helping the situation?
The TEMPO at which you speak can also be a huge factor in successful communication. If “Flight of the Bumblebee” is your preferred speaking tempo you will have to slow way down.
Most children need time to process not only what you are saying, what it means, and how they will respond to it.
Speaking quickly makes life harder.
Here’s an example:
When a child takes someone’s toy I use a low voice, a light tone, mid/slow tempo.
Me to crier:
“Can I help you with this? Let me talk to her first and then she will be ready to work this out.”
Me to taker:
“Huh, that didn’t work too well. That person does not agree with your plan. You have to try again with a new plan.”
My low voice brings everyone’s adrenaline down a notch and also makes this problem one that is fixable. The light tone I take highlights it as a problem instead of an emergency. My slow speed helps everyone to slow down. When emotions are high children tend to react quickly as they are in fight or flight mode which in turn exacerbates the problem.
Remember every instrument is versatile. Your voice is no different. Use your voice in a way that helps you connect with your child in a deeper way.
Your voice is your instrument. Don’t take your voice for granted it is the MOST powerful tool you have in your parenting toolbox.
What do you think? Which element are you going to play around with today?
Volume, Tone, or Tempo?
It might help to think of yourself as a specific instrument.
Which instrument are you?