Our two older kids are four and five, a boy and a girl. They're homeschooled so they are home all the time. They generally behave well except for one thing: they are loud all.the.time. They wake up early, even if they stay up late, and make enough noise to wake up the baby and I early every morning. I'm expecting again and really need the sleep and the baby (one year old) is cranky quite a bit because he's tired all the time. They wake him up early from his nap just about every single day.
I'm constantly asking them to be quiet, use 'inside' voices, and so on. I've tried taking things away, like dessert, toys, and favorite articles of clothing. At their age school time only lasts for an hour or so each day and they are both well ahead for their age and are to the point where they don't have the motor skills for more writing so spending more time on school wouldn't make sense. I've tried things like craft and science projects but they get just as loud as when they are playing. I've tried rewarding being quiet with treats or special outings but they tell me they would rather play so the rewards don't make any difference. I've tried reading to them until I'm horse but after the first book they start talking over me. I've tried giving them parts of the day, even several hours, where they can make noise and I won't complain. I've tried putting a heavy blanket 'curtain' behind DD's bedroom door to sort of sound proof the room and allow them to make all the noise they want as long as they stay in that room but not only does the noise carry but they don't want to stay in there all the time. I've even tried hiring a babysitter to take them for walks or to their house during naptime but I have yet to find one that is less than half an hour away and charges less than $20 per hour and I just can't pay $50 a day for a quiet naptime. I've tried letting them watch tv but they're just as loud while it's on.
It's tough to try and come up with something to change the behavior because they are playing nicely together 90% of the time, they're just talking or playing loudly. I should note that the noise is all them, the only noise making 'toys' we have are musical instruments that are not available to them all the time, just during 'music class', they almost never do things like bang toys together to make noise - it's all their voices.
In good weather, which is most days, they play outside for at least a few hours and usually 3-4. When they're outside they're constantly coming in and out of the house for things (almost all things they must come in for like potty breaks or sand in their eyes) which makes so much noise that it wakes the baby up and I can't very well lock them out, they also make lots of noise outside when playing in the super tiny yard (they only safe place for them to play) and it can be heard in the house so well that it wakes him up that way too. Our house is two floors but the stairwell is open and the second floor is small but the whole place has high ceilings which echo terribly (military housing so no option to make permanent changes and we're moving in 6-8 months anyway) so no matter where they play the noise carries throughout the house and when they play on the second floor it wakes up whomever is sleeping in the first floor master bedroom (including the baby).
I'm at a loss and something needs to change. I'm exhausted and the baby is cranky and tired all the time. I can't count the number of times I say 'quiet' or go 'shhhhhhhhh' during the day. I'm getting headaches and jaw pain from clenching my teeth over the stress of the noise. There isn't a moment's peace from the constant noise, even in the car (the baby won't even sleep there because of their chatter). DH is just as stressed over it. Is there anything to do to convince them to be quiet or at least less loud?