I just read Sarah Plain and Tall to the kids. In it, Anna tells her brother, "Hush, Caleb. Hush up!" I decided I'm in love with the word "hush." It doesn't matter if you say it a bit frustrated, as Anna did or if you whisper it, it sounds just like what you want. "A hush came over the crowd." It's a quiet sound, don't you think?
In thinking of words I don't like, especially words or phrases I don't like to use around children, so many come to mind. Shut up....cut it out...stop that...oh no you don't! I think I heard all of those at the last daycare I worked at and I only worked for three hours! The thing to remember is that children tend to be quite literal. So when you say, cut it out, they are likely to go get scissors and cut something out. If you say, stop it, they may not respond at all, because they are not sure what it is they should stop. Should they stop running...or put the scissors down...or stop running with scissors? Shut up just sounds rude. So unless it's a dire emergency, I don't use it because kids will emulate you before they listen to you. If you are rude, you best believe your kids are rude too.
Hush, sounds tranquil. "I enjoyed the quiet hush of the house after the evening's dinner bustle." "Hush little baby, don't you cry..." I've noticed that when I whisper "hush" to my kids they quiet down right away. I think they are curious. "Why, mom?" or as they look around, "What is it?" It grabs their attention immediately which is usually what I want when I'm trying to get them to settle down. Try it. I wonder if you'll notice a difference.
Now, let's all hush and get ready for a good nights sleep.