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There is power in whispering. Power a lot stronger than you get by yelling!

I found out many years ago that it is possible to get a toddler to stop crying by the simple act of whispering.

Whispering is calming. But, in addition, when the child strains to hear what you are saying, the attention is focused on you not on the storm raging inside. Also when you whisper you automatically slow down the pace of your words so you talk slower as well as softer.

I remembered this lesson recently when struggling with my dog. She did not like getting her harness put on in preparation for a ride in the car. Yes, you non-pet owners out there, dogs need to be safely restrained in the car just as children do.

So much as Mindy loves to ride in the car, in her excitement to go to car she became less than cooperative. Every time I tried to put the harness on she morphed into 13 pounds of squirming, excited dog. Initially my voice rose as I struggled until I remembered the old whisper trick from my pediatric practice. So now I whisper,”What a pretty dog you are. Let’s put the harness over your silky ears.” and other nonsense. No more squirming.

The problem is that when we are in a hurry, perhaps trying to put a seat belt on a squirming child, we tend to move fast and speak loudly. Our actions make the squirming worse. Then we get more upset and become more rushed and loud.

There are many usually trying times when whisper power works in children. I once saw a mother keep a young child happy on a long plane flight by sitting very close and whispering in his ear as they played little games and read books together.

Another mother, who had a very difficult child, learned that when he was acting up in a public place the best thing she could do was to take him on her lap and whisper to him until he calmed down.

When a child seems embarrassed and is reluctant to talk or answer a question suggest a whisper.

When siblings are getting noisy in their play suggest they whisper to each other for awhile.

When you are correcting a child in public kneel down to his or her level and whisper, “We don’t use that word in our family.”

While you’re thinking about whisper power listen to your home. Is everybody talking loud because there is so much background noise? If so turn down the volume.

Love itself is quiet, not raucous. We don’t shout sweet nothings to a loved one do we? We whisper our words of love.

In dealing with children, especially young children or children who are upset, soft is better than loud and slow is better than fast.