Inside: One simple trick to teach kids to stop slamming the door
I was putting the last touches on dinner while daddy was outside playing with the kids. One of the boys ran into the kitchen through the garage and slammed the door behind him with a loud bang.
“Please close the door gently,” I asked. “Okay!” He yelled without stopping, already in another room.
My little boy ran back into the kitchen, opened the door, ran outside, and slammed it behind him again. He was extremely excited about something.
I opened the door into the garage, and called after him, “The door can’t take much more slamming.” “Sorry!” He yelled back as he handed something to daddy.
Not a minute later, he ran back in again, followed by a loud “whoosh, bam!” of the door. “Okay,” I thought, “this isn’t working.”
I didn’t want to give him a consequence for slamming the door. I also didn’t want a natural consequence to occur, waiting until his or his sibling’s little fingers get stuck between the door and the door frame wasn’t an option.
The only thing left was to try something different.
Sure, I could prevent the door slamming with anti-door slam products like door stoppers, a foam strip, a rubber band, door blockers, a door silencer or another door slam preventer to muffle sounds of the loud noise and to keep my children’s fingers safe. But I wanted my child to learn to stop slamming the door himself.
The easy way to teach kids to stop slamming doors
As my son ran back into the kitchen, he found me standing right in front of him, wiping my wet hands with a kitchen towel.
“Hi!” I said, smiling. “Hi?” He answered, a bit confused as the door swung shut again. “Can you please show me how to close the door the right way?” I asked.
He opened the door and stepped ahead to walk out of the kitchen. “Stay inside please, and show me how to close the door.”
He pushed the door closed. Although it wasn’t a slam, it was louder than I would have liked.
“Okay, that’s better, try it again. But this time, turn the handle before closing the door, please.” He did, and the door made a gentle, “whoosh” sound. After the door was closed, he let go of the handle.
“Perfect!” I said, “Now do it again.” “Mom!” He didn’t like that I was detaining him from the fun going on outside.
I understood how he felt, but it was important for him to remember how the door closing worked. “Please,” I said calmly, “do it again.” He did.
Then he did it three more times. After the fifth time, I smiled, thanked him, and off he went to play with his brothers and daddy.
As I called everyone in for dinner a few minutes later, my son walked through the door, made a second’s pause, looked up at me, and gently closed the door behind him.
“Wow,” I said, “Those are some great door-closing skills!” He tried to hide a smile as he went into the bathroom to wash his hands.
Kids can slam the door out of excitement, anger, or because it’s a habit. It may not seem like a big deal to a child, but a slamming door is a major danger to another child’s fingers. Not to mention potentially loose door hinges, lost hinge screws, and a headache for mama.
This trick will also work if instead of door slams your child leaves open doors behind him everywhere he goes.
Teaching kids to close the door gently without yelling
When kids continue to do something we’ve repeatedly asked them not to do, it can be tempting to tell them again, but louder. And that can turn into yelling very quickly.
Another temptation is to repeatedly say the same thing to them over and over again. If “Don’t slam the door”, “Stop slamming the door,” and “You will break the door if you slam it” all get the same unsatisfactory result, try something different.
There is an old wise quote that states, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The same applies to saying the same thing over and over again and expecting kids to act differently. Be creative and try something different. For more ideas here’s a post on how to talk to kids so they actually listen.
As tempting as it is to try to authoritatively “stand your ground” with a “do this because I said so” approach, try to understand him and speak to him calmly, without raising your voice. He’s probably incredibly excited about something, so he’s flying out of the door, and the door is flying closed right behind him.
Or maybe he’s angry about something. Breathe. Kids and adults alike have the right to be angry. Give him a chance to calm down, and then try the approach of practicing closing the door gently several times. Read this post for tips on how to help your child calm down.
How do you get your kids to stop slamming the doors?
- Ask them to close the door as you watch. Show them how to do it, if needed.
- Watch them do it the right way.
- Ask them to do it again a total of five times.
- Thank them and tell them how well they did.
- If they slam the door again, repeat this process.
This is one of the best ways to help kids learn to stop slamming the door.
If you have young children, teach them this skill sooner than later, because older kids are stronger, and their closing door speed is faster and more forceful. But that’s not to say that teens can’t be taught this skill. Use the same approach to teach older children to stop slamming doors, too.
You don’t need another anti-door slamming device, an automatic door, or a quiet door closer mechanism to stop kids from slamming the doors. All it takes is a little patience and determination.