I got into a bad habit this long, long, long Winter. I know this because I am having a difficult time adjusting to "open window parenting" this belated Spring.
I'm sure you know about "open window parenting". It is the volume level you use to communicate with your children when the windows are open and the neighborhood can hear you versus the muffled cocoon your house becomes when it is hermetically sealed from the winter winds.
The decibel level, which is already high with four young children has skyrocketed and unfortunately I have led the way. No, I have not begun screaming at the kids in anger. But, I have taken the lazy way and shouted from one floor to another. "Kids, pick up these toys!" or "Kids, wash up for supper!", or "Kids, stop shouting so loudly!"
And as we all know, but don't often like to admit, kids imitate what they see, or in this case, hear. When my voice got louder, their voices got louder. Then that awful kid music that has been banished to the basement got louder to compensate for loud voices.
With the windows open, the neighbors are subject to every conversation. I can hear our voices reverberate off the ranch homes and split levels on our street.
A very wise friend from ECFE (also with 4 kids) said several years ago, "I used to think I could handle any noise as long as it was joyful. Now I know that I need some quiet."
I'm with you, sister. And I am sure the neighbors feel the same way.
In an attempt to avoid becoming the pariahs of our neighborhood, I hereby formally acknowledge my guilt in contributing to the noise pollution levels and am going to try to do my best to lower my voice.
Or at least close the windows before I start hollering for the kids to get ready for bath time.