We all imagine that our homes will be tranquil spaces filled with light and never-ending joy. Just picture watching TV with the kids and not arguing about who gets the remote and how loud the volume goes… But while this heavenly idea might sound appealing, the reality is that the vast majority of us live in a sort of mild chaos most days!
While this is entirely natural for busy families, especially, there are a few things you can do to try and assert a little more of your peace-filled vision on your household. If you are willing to take a holistic view of your home and relationships spanning everything from the way you tidy up to how you handle disputes between family members, you will certainly find that your quality of life goes up.
Life will never be perfect but as you read on, you will hopefully see a few ways you can improve it.
Learning to Compromise and Negotiate
We can’t all have what we want all the time - something that parents constantly apologising to friends will understand too well! This is something we know and something we try to tell our kids but it never quite comes off as we intend. What might seem perfectly reasonable to a parent is quite clearly crossing the line for the kids and vice versa all the time. But losing your temper isn’t going to help here, instead, you will find your home is much more peaceful if you learn to mediate and compromise.
Negotiation is a crucial part of every adult relationship but it is something that should be cultivated early on. Though negotiating with your kids isn’t appropriate all the time and sometimes you do need to just say “no”, teaching them how to negotiate with you and how to compromise is a good thing. For example, you might agree that you will give your kids pocket money for doing chores and allow some negotiation for how much they will be paid.
Though negotiating with toddlers and teens is very different, the process is still broadly the same. With a toddler, a simple, “if you do this, I’ll do that” approach will work well. For example, “if you put your toys away, I will let you have a biscuit.” Teenagers will put you through your paces a bit more but keep coming back to the principle that you want to find a compromise that suits you both.
You should also try negotiating with the adults at home too. Whether you are discussing something with your partner or you have a grown-up child living with you, negotiating instead of arguing is always best. Again, you can use some similar approaches. Try to be logical and think about what you say before you say it.
A Calm Home and a Calm Mind
When there are toys and clothes everywhere, unwashed dishes piled up in the kitchen and you are overwhelmed by stuff all the time, it is difficult to stay calm. A calm space leads to a calm mind, after all. But this doesn’t mean that you need to spend your whole time tidying up or that you need to get rid of everything, you just need to put some strategies in place to stay on top.
Involving the whole family in keeping the house clean and tidy is essential. You cannot possibly expect just one person to be responsible for all the housework! Even toddlers can do some chores such as tidying up their toys and helping to set the table before eating. A house rota could help if you feel like you are constantly nagging but another approach could be that everyone does their chores at the same time and you all get a reward afterwards such as playing a game together or watching a film.
As well as keeping the place tidy, you should also think about the other aspects of your interior that will create a calm atmosphere. Indoor plants are a great addition to any home and will also act as a kind of natural air purifier. We all come across strange smells in our home from time to time so scented candles and diffusers are also recommended!
The Importance of Family Time
You might spend a lot of time under the same roof but actually spending time together is about more than just sitting in front of the TV at the same time. Spending quality time together is about focusing your attention on each other and really being together.
Family activities don’t have to be expensive and some of the best times are actually the ones where you don’t spend anything at all. Going on outings, having games nights and family meetings to discuss any issues that come up are all great way to spend quality time together. Similarly, picnics, walks and film nights watching a DVD with popcorn are all fun things to do.
Eating together every night like this is a good way to create a sense of stability at home. Having a regular routine helps everyone to feel settled and safe, though you might like to mix up the menu occasionally! Going around the table to ask how everyone’s day has been is a good way to connect and keep up with everyone else’s business. Teens will try to get away with monosyllabic responses but you can tease more information out of them gradually.
Getting into the routine of spending quality time as a family is a good way to teach children your family values. Honesty and love are the hallmarks of any positive relationship and so giving them a chance to talk to you in a safe environment every evening will only help to encourage this behaviour. It’s important to note here that family time will almost certainly require your negotiation skills from time to time!
Keeping the peace is always the best way to keep your family safe and happy. As you settle into good habits and regular family time, you will certainly see the difference.
Mrs. New Mom MTL
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