I recently just moved into a new apartment complex with my three children who are 5-years old, 11-years old, and 14-years old. After being there for only one month, I was very disturbed to find a noise violation notice attached to my front door. It stated that I was in violation of my lease rules and regulations and that the complaints were mainly due to yelling, banging, and thumping coming from my apartment. I knew I needed to take immediate action to correct the problem. The following are the five main things I did to ensure the peace in my house for my own sanity and the quietness that the surrounding neighbors should receive.
#1 Made sure they understood the seriousness of the noise complaint
The first thing that needed to be done was make my children read the notice from the front office out loud. They needed to understand the seriousness of the notice and realize an eviction could follow if the problem was not resolved. My children now understand that continued noise could result in consequences not only to me but to them as well. This was important to get their attention and move forward.
#2 Found out the cause of the noise
I needed to know which children were causing most of the banging and yelling. As a working mother, there are times when my children are home alone. I expected that most of the problems were arising due to my middle and youngest child and found this to be true. Getting them to admit fault and realize their mistake was key.
#3 Explained that we are to work together as a family
Letting my girls know that I loved them and we needed to pull together as a family was essential. Everyone needed to get along and work together since much of the yelling was due to arguing and sibling rivalry. The banging was due to temper tantrums and anger outbursts that are no longer acceptable and should have never been tolerated.
#4 Instated punishment for continued noise disturbances
Punishing children can be difficult, especially when they are at different ages and have different personalities. What works for one child, may not work for the other. However, continuing to let things go, only sends kids the message that they can get away with what they are doing and it is acceptable. Time out periods had to be put into action with my 5-year-old. She was told that screaming would add to her time, and I was prepared to have to physically keep her in her time out spot in her room if necessary. Rewarding the older two children for good behavior and taking away privileges for bad behavior has been working well for me. Continually reminding all three of my girls that they are not allowed to yell is a constant effort on my part as soon as I hear it taking place. Talking to my kids and showing them respect is important as well. They need to have boundaries and be treated respectfully at the same time.
#5 Learned to keep my cool in front of my children
Kids are smart, and they know when a parent is stressed that they can get away with more. I found it is important to show my children that I have confidence in my parenting skills and that I mean business. I have learned that if I am going to cry or get frustrated, I need to do so behind closed doors.
The best way to avoid a noise violation is to prevent it from happening in the first place, but sometimes we have to take corrective measures. So, ditch the headphones and correct the problem. In addition, as a parent, it is important to keep your voice down so your children will follow your lead.
More from Rebecca Bardelli:
Help, My Child is Depressed
5 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat Healthy
10 Tips for Keeping Your School-Aged Children Active During Winter