Small Boys Make Big Noise: Where's the Volume Control?

Okay. Can we talk about little boys and the horrible relentless brain-bludgeoning noises they make?

I'm glad we can chat about this via the Internet because if we were sitting down in personl my entire side of the conversation would go like this: "Yes, I—DYLAN STOP SCREAMING. Anyway, the thing is that—RILEY GO IN THE OTHER ROOM IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THAT SOUND. Sorry! As I was—GODDAMN IT YOU TWO I SAID KNOCK IT OFF."

I have this ongoing argument with myself regarding my children's rambunctiousness. Here are my opposing viewpoints:


VIEWPOINT A: "Well, they're only 6 and 3, and it's not like they're fighting—they're having fun, it's just the sort of fun that involves a lot of shrieking and crashing around. They love to roughhouse and no one's getting hurt, so shouldn't I just let them be children instead of constantly yelling at them to simmer down?"


They aren't badly behaved kids, they're just really, really hyper when they're playing together. I should point out that when they're separated, they are completely different creatures altogether—I receive nothing but glowing reports about the 6-year-old's attentive, obedient attitude in school, and the 3-year-old is charming and mellow all day long until the precise moment when we pick up his brother. As soon as they're reunited, that's when they suddenly start acting like their afternoon snack included 12 frosted donuts washed down with a triple espresso and a 5 Hour Energy chaser.

My children are
affectionate, loving brothers, but when they play together, they are basically indistinguishable from feral, hooting rhesus monkeys.

It's less of a problem in the summer, because I can just toss them outside when the noise levels start making my eardrums bleed. However, now that it's pitch dark at 4:30 p.m. and our yard is a sea of mud,  I'm finding myself more and more frustrated by the chaos of sharing a small house with such loud, WILD, insanely active kids.

Here's my question for you: how do you deal with kids being, you know, KIDS? I often find that I'm not sure where to draw the line with some of their more obnoxious play habits. I mean, as much as I might occasionally wish they were the sort of children who enjoyed quiet, long-lasting pursuits like working through a 50-page coloring book on a nightly basis, I love them for who they are—and like it or not, who they are involves running, shouting, and making a seemingly endless number of pshew pshew pshew sounds.

So, what's the best way to create some noise/chaos boundaries, ideally so I don't find myself barking at them every single freaking night like I have been lately? Do you use the old inside voice/outside voice command? Do you have a designated play area in the house where rambunctiousness can occur with impunity? Do you chase them around with a broom yelling, "CHILDREN SHOULD BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD"?

All ideas are more than welcome. While I await your input, I'll just be over here locked in my bathroom listening to Enya on my iPod while whispering serenity now over and over and over.

Image via Linda Sharps

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