Vocal Health in Children: Tips to Help Keep Your Child’s Voice in Shape

Have you ever noticed that your child’s voice is sometimes hoarse, not clear, or weak? Does your child even “lose” his or her voice on occasion? This voice problem may be explained by the presence of vocal abuse or misuse and can be caused by the following:
  • Yelling
  • Talking loudly
  • Talking without taking a break
  • Speaking when there is excessive background noise (e.g. talking over the noise of the television or the radio)
  • Clearing your throat regularly
  • Altering your voice or imitating sounds frequently when playing
  • Whispering
  • Singing in an abusive fashion (e.g. singing too loudly, too long, or altering his voice excessively)

Kids will be kids, and tend to express themselves by talking loudly, shouting or even shrieking when excited. However, you can help your child keep his or her voice in shape with the following tips from our experts:

  • Decrease environmental noise (e.g. turn off the television during mealtimes);
  • Encourage your child to be at your side when speaking to you rather than yelling from one room to another;
  • Encourage your child to drink the equivalent of two glasses of water per day by taking small sips throughout the day. Also encourage your child to take a sip of water instead of clearing his or her throat;
  • After periods of loud, noisy activities, encourage your child  to participate in a “quiet” activity where he or she does not speak for 15 to 20 minutes (e.g. watching TV, reading, drawing);
  • Ask your child to avoid whispering in class and instead speak softly;
  • Provide a good voice model for your child by not yelling or talking too loudly in his or her presence.
By following the above tips, you can help improve your child’s voice quality. For more specific recommendations and questions, talk to your child’s doctor, or speech-language pathologist to get expert advice.