Mighty Mommy shares 6 ways you can create consistent harmony in your home so that love and peace are the norm and chaos and friction won’t be welcome.
Here in New England this year's winter has for the most part been milder than in the past, with only a couple of notable snowstorms to speak of. Despite the minimal amounts of snow, my children have missed at least five days of school for the potential threat of storms that truthfully didn’t amount to much.
When an unexpected day off from school graces my family, it’s certainly exciting for my kids, but at the same time it can wreak havoc on my schedule because I work full-time outside the home. Now I have to juggle last-minute child care, figure out a different arrangement for meals, and for those of my older kids who can handle being home alone for a few hours I want to make sure they aren’t at each other’s throats without adult supervision.
I recently received an e-mail from a single dad in the Chicago area asking for tips on how to create a more peaceful home environment. He works 50+ hours a week and is frustrated that he can’t be more available to his three young children. With a busy career and being the sole provider for his family he asked how he could lay a more calm and peaceful foundation so that it carries over on a regular basis when he can’t be home with the kids.
Thank you Dave for the great question. Parents want peace of mind when they can’t be at home with their kids, no matter what the reason. The many days my kids have had out of school this year makes me feel the same way—I want a serene, soothing atmosphere for my family to enjoy whether I’m at home or not.
Here are six ways you can create consistent harmony in your home so that love and peace are the norm and chaos and friction won’t be welcome.
6 Ways to Create a Peaceful Home
- It Starts With You
- Speak Calmly
- Create Personal Space
- Be Mindful of Family Time
- Set the Tone with Music
- Stay Organized and Clutter Free
We will check these out in more detail.
1. It Starts with You
Parents have the ability to create the tone that the rest of the family will follow. With 25 years of parenting under my belt, I’ve found this to be one of the biggest factors in setting a peaceful, gentle atmosphere. If I get up cranky, the rest of the house follows suit. When I get up chipper and cheerful, and seem excited about the day ahead, my kids relax and most often will feel good about the geometry test they’re about to face later in the morning or playing against the undefeated basketball team after school that day. Moods (good or bad) can definitely be contagious and have a ripple effect for the rest of the family.
Research shows that a parent’s daily behaviors can shape how their children will cope and act for the rest of their lives. In Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt’s article How Do You Affect Your Child?, their studies show that “Psychologists refer to this as the influence of parent socialization, the way children learn the behaviors and skills necessary to interact in their everyday lives.”
If you’ve noticed your home tends to evoke a more stressful vibe, stop and evaluate what you might be doing to contribute. Are you consistently short and snippy with how you communicate with your kids? Are you joyful when you see them first thing in the morning/after school or do you come across as burdened by caring for them? Make eye contact and smile when your kids enter the room. Hug them when they leave for school. Remind them you are looking forward to picking them up at practice later and will settle in at home for a bite to eat together. A peaceful existence starts with you.
2. Speak Calmly
Three of my children had significant speech delays. For the early years when they worked so diligently with speech language pathologists, one thing they were repeatedly instructed to do was to “use your words.” Once they did begin using more of a vocabulary they were instructed to use their “nice words.” This made a huge impression on me not only as the mother of speech-delayed kids, but it was a wonderful reminder that we should all speak nicely and calmly on a regular basis, regardless of what we’re talking about.
One of the foundations of a peaceful home is speaking to one another with positive words as well as using a kind tone. In5 Ways to Speak Positively to Children I elaborate on the importance of a family-friendly tone. “People, kids especially, tend to respond to a request when they hear a pleasant voice rather than someone shouting or overreacting with an emotional tirade. Think about it—when your coworker, your spouse, or even a stranger in the supermarket wants to get your attention, would you rather they use a harsh tone to speak with you or calmly let you know they need something from you?”