Noise, Talking and Fidgeting

moms of many manageWelcome to this weeks edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage.  This week we’re each answering some reader questions.

Today I will be answering several questions from Amy:

How do you deal with the constant jabbering, fidgeting, interruptions, and play-by-plays that must go on in a family your size?

I have to admit that the nearly constant noise and motion is not my preference and is one of the ways that God is refining me. While we have high standards for our children, we want our standards to be God’s standards and as much as I may like to find it, I don’t see a maximum volume level laid out for us in Scripture. So when the noise level is high (and when isn’t it???)  I thank God for the gift of a home full of life, love and laughter.  Then I ask myself the Yes Mom questions (Is there a real reason to say no? Are they supposed to be working on something else? “Are they being foolish/unkind/undisciplined/etc?”) and if the answer to all three questions is no, I die a little tiny bit to self, bite my tongue and thank God for a noisy home full of life, love and laughter.

Some other ideas:

There are certain times during the day when the children are expected to be calm and quiet.  At meals, during the baby’s nap and during times of  family worship everyone is expected to be still and concentrate on the task at hand.

Teach your children courtesy and kindness. While Mark and I are happy to have a home filled with life and laughter, we do not allow the selfishness or unkindness that people sometimes mistakenly label as ‘kids just being kids’. If something is unkind, rude or disrespectful we deal with it appropriately.

  • No interrupting – This includes making excessive noise when someone else is having a conversation.
  • No unkindness – This may seem basic, but we are often tempted to shrug off unkindness as ‘teasing’. If it is commanded or forbidden by Scripture, it’s commanded or forbidden in our home.
  • Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. ~Phil. 2:3-4

    Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

    Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “I was only joking!” ~ Prov 26:18-19

    A good way for children to determine what is acceptable is whether or not the words or actions bother their object. i.e. if sister says, “Please stop______.” it is unkind to continue. We use this procedure to help the children handle disputes on their own.

Make certain that the children have adequate time to burn off some of their energy by giving them the time and space to run, jump and yell. Even when it’s cold outside it’s good for those boys to spend some time outdoors.

How do you teach a kid to focus, as it is not their natural tendency?

I’m sorry what was that again? 🙂

I think that this is a skill that takes lots of time and patience to develop in children and I think we need to make sure that we as moms are focused on our own priorities, one of which is teaching our children to be diligent in the tasks that God has given to them.

When it comes to focusing on learning, reading or listening, we use narration. We have the children tell back to us in their own words what they learned, read or heard. If a child isn’t able to tell us what they’ve learned we have them go over the material again.

We often use a timer when we give them a task to complete and we place opportunities to work just before we have something fun and enjoyable scheduled so there is additional motivation to focus and finish promptly.

When our children are simply being disobedient we deal with that accordingly.

How (should I) keep a jabber box from telling me every detail, without making him think that I don’t want to hear what he has to say?

You don’t.

If you want him to come and talk to you when the going gets tough, I think it is important to listen to him now. So you listen, smile and thank God for the jabber box.

I do understand what you are talking about and there are times when it is necessary to cut the narrative shorter than the child would prefer, but I try to do this only when necessary. “Honey, Mommy needs to make a phone call (listen to sister read, get a shower) right now, but I’d love to talk more later.”

One other thing to consider when you have one of those extreme talkers is to balance listening to them with teaching them to be considerate of others. That is a James 1:5 balance.

Be sure visit the other moms of many to read their answers to your questions:

Connie @ Smockity Frocks answers questions about transportation, bedrooms and college.

The Headmistress @The Common Room talks about co-sleeping and teaching boys using Charlotte Mason’s methods.

KimC @ Life in a Shoe is taking a break this week due to the death of her father, please pray for their family.

Tomorrow a group of us will be starting to read through the Bible in 90 days, please visit this post for details if you’d like to join us. Mom’s Toolbox will be hosting another Bible in 90 days read through beginning in July.

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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12 Responses to Noise, Talking and Fidgeting
  1. Annie@Beauty in the Surrender
    March 31, 2011 | 7:38 am

    I so appreciate your authenticity and openess you have regarding your family and the way you and your husband raise your children. I struggle at times with the way my husband and I raise our children and how the world will perceive our parenting and then I read posts like yours and I think, “Why am I trying to please man?”
    I, too, am a “yes mom” (that has come through much dying to self on my part as I was not raised this way) and at times I think my children should be more quiet, less rowdy and fidgety, silly and goofy. But I can’t expect them to be robots or ignore that they have their own personalities too!
    Thank you Kimberly!


  2. Elizabeth
    March 31, 2011 | 9:18 am

    Thank you for laying it all concisely. I love reading your practical style. Now I think I will go buy some earplugs….


    Katie Reply:

    Earbuds hooked to your ipod/iphone works great 😉


  3. Katie
    March 31, 2011 | 1:37 pm

    I needed to hear this today – especially the part about the jabber box. I have a first born 7 yr old who has to tell me EVERYTHING – even repeating things that were told in my presence just a few seconds before! I’m still working on politeness and not interrupting, but he is just the kind of kid who thinks out loud.

    Love your blog and real life topics. Thanks Kimberly!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Different age, but I have one of those as well. 🙂


  4. Kara
    March 31, 2011 | 5:44 pm

    This is a very balanced post…with the right heart behind enforcing some times of quiet…as well as the “Yes Mom” concept…which is one of my very favorite posts. 🙂


  5. Suzanne
    March 31, 2011 | 6:02 pm

    Ach! about the jabber box! I have a REALLY sweet, VERY obedient jabber box 8 yo boy with brilliant ideas, stories, and inventions that he wants to tell us about. BUT we have 4 other children who would like to talk also, my biggest problem is that he consistently picks inopportune times to tell us a full-out story. (During chore time, school time, etc.) I REALLY want to encourage his great ideas and communication with us, but we are constantly having to tell him later would be better, or to stop wasting time and finish the chores instead of talking.
    One thing we did, is get him a journal to write his inventions in so he can write down the details there, then we can read it at a better time, and discuss it with him. It does help some, but I really wish I never had to tell him it’s not a good time.


  6. Valerie
    March 31, 2011 | 10:48 pm

    THANK YOU for this specific post! Where is this chapter in the {few excellent biblical} parenting books? I have wondered so many times if I was being picky or unreasonable about volume levels. My husband will like this post too. Thank you so much, Kimberley.


  7. Wendy
    April 1, 2011 | 12:05 pm

    Just wondering if you require quiet during schooltime read-alouds? And how do you enforce that with the youngest ones?!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Wendy. We do require our little ones to be quiet if they are in the room when we’re reading aloud or having a discussion. I think that falls under teaching our children courtesy and kindness.

    I’ve written a couple posts about how we homeschool with little ones. They include what we require when the little ones want to be in the room while we’re reading aloud.

    If you still have questions, please let me know.


  8. Grateful for Grace
    April 2, 2011 | 10:18 pm

    This post challenged me, convicted me and encouraged me all at the same time.

    Thank you.


  9. Trooppetrie
    April 3, 2011 | 6:05 am

    This is so true, we have a practice at our house. if mom is talking to someone to me and my kids need me they walk up to me and lay a hand on me and leave it until I am done talking. that way they know i will not forget about them. this is great except when they walk up to another adult and lay a hand on them and forget to remove it. i think another great tip is practicing at home. if they can practice setting still at home for devotions than it seems normal to set still during church or other function.


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