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15 Clever ways to convince your kids to shut up

Sherri Kuhn writes about raising teenagers, the perils of a clean home, wistfulness over babies, and anything else that makes her laugh (or cry) in the years between changing diapers and wearing them. With a son just starting college and...

Peace and quiet? Coming right up

Got kids? Then you know how much they talk. We spend the early months of their lives encouraging that first word, a simple sentence or even just a babble. Truth is, once they start they just keep talking. And talking. We have a few ideas to help you get some peace and quiet. You’re welcome.
Mom hushing kids

Peace &
quiet?

Coming
right up

Got kids? Then you know how much they talk. We spend the early months of their lives encouraging that first word, a simple sentence or even just a babble. Truth is, once they start they just keep talking. And talking. We have a few ideas to help you get some peace and quiet. You’re welcome.

Admit it — you would love a bit of peace and quiet. Whether you’re at the grocery store, carpooling between school and soccer practice or just hanging out at home, those chatty little people you are raising just won’t stop talking. Ever. Why not try one of our tried-and-true methods?

1

Salt-water taffy

Taffy

A long-time favorite sweet treat of beach town tourists, but have you ever considered how chewy it is? Keep a stash of taffy on hand for times when you really want a bit of peace. Chatting on the phone with an old friend? Taffy for everyone under the age of 14 and your conversation will be kid-free.

2

Telepathic story

Got a kid into science fiction who can drag an alien story line all the way to Grandma’s house and back home? Since his active imagination won’t shut up, it’s time to up the ante. Convince him that he has telepathic powers, and that he needs to “send” his latest long-winded story to you telepathically. Make sure to nod occasionally and smile here and there, so he knows his story is being “received.”

3

Doctor’s orders

Why not throw the pediatrician under the bus for a change? Tell your kid there is a virus that's been discovered that's voice-stealing, and that you are under doctor’s orders to “save” her voice. No talking while out in public, lest her voice be stolen. This one is particularly handy during cold and flu season. For extra effect, have your child wear a surgical mask to “keep his voice inside” while out in public.

4

Ladybug hunt

What kid doesn’t love ladybugs? When you want some peace and quiet to enjoy your monthly book club selection, send your kiddos into the backyard to hunt for ladybugs. Be sure to explain that ladybugs hide when they hear voices, so that only the quietest hunters will find them. Bonus points if you offer a piece of taffy for each ladybug captured safely (see above).

5

Carpet counting

Ever wonder how many strands of fiber are in your family room carpet? Who knows, but it makes a great excuse to keep a kid busy (and quiet) for at least as long as it takes you to watch that DVR’d episode of Mad Men. This one works best for older kids, who can actually count past the number 7. Tell them you need an accurate count before you can call the carpet cleaner, who charges by the fiber.

6

Word hunt

Got an old paperback you won’t read again? Give it to your kid with a highlighter and tell him to find all the instances of the word “the” and highlight them. Tell him you know how many there are, and if he gets it right he gets a penny for each one. No, you don’t really know — but it’s the challenge that will keep him quiet.

7

Pop Rocks

Need we say more?

Up next: 8 More ways to get some peace and quiet

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