Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect opportunity to discuss creating harmony in the home. I’ve been struggling with this problem off and on for a couple of months and have found that there are definitely things that help foster a more loving environment in my home.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have been given guidelines to follow that help to bring our family closer together and to invite the Spirit of God into our home. These guidelines include praying together as a family as well as individually, studying the scriptures, and holding Family Home Evening once a week. When I am striving to live by these guidelines my home is noticeably more harmonious than when I am not. These practices also create opportunities for my husband and I to share our morals and values with our children. Praying together as a family helps our children to develop a sense of gratitude as they give thanks for their blessings. Prayer also helps develop them to selflessness as they pray for the needs of others. Although many of the ideas below are based on these principles, you need not be a member of my faith — or of any faith — to employ them.
1. Center Yourself : Try to wake up 15-30 minutes earlier than you usually do and take this time to meditate, study scriptures, pray, or to read something uplifting and inspiring. I find that when I am able to do this, I can face the day in a calmer, happier, and more peaceful way. It’s so much better than getting up and walking directly into the chaos of the morning.
2. Stick to a Routine: As much as possible, stick to the same routine each day. Do homework, eat dinner, and start getting ready for bed at a consistent time each day. When kids know what to expect each day, they will become more able to anticipate what needs to happen next and take steps to help out
3. Spend Time Together: Aside from family dinners, it is important to take time each week to enjoy each other’s company. This can take the form of a formal Family Night, or can be as simple and spontaneous as a Saturday outing to the park. Either way, it is important to interact with your kids in different settings. Let them know you enjoy spending time with them doing a variety of things — get to know them better and let them see that there is more to Mom & Dad than they expected. Bonus: in my experience a change of pace puts the kibosh on sibling rivalry better than anything else. If you have more than one child, try to schedule occasional one-on-one time between each parent and each child. Sometimes they just need to have you all to themselves.
4. Take Time to Teach: It’s important to let your children know what you expect from them and why. Share your ideals with them, and try to model good conversational skills. Model good listening behavior and guide them in conflict resolution. When they have the tools to work it out on their own, there will be less tattling and more cooperation.
5. Spot Good Behavior: When you see your kids being especially helpful, kind, or mature, point it out immediately and complement them on it. Then, bring it up again later in the week — saying, for example “I was so proud of how your helped your sister clean up her room the other day. It really made me happy to see that you are learning to be so thoughtful.” Kids respond to positive reinforcement and it’s nice for them to hear what they have done well.
What tips or strategies do you employ to maintain a sense of peace and harmony in your home? I would love to hear some new ideas!
Happy Valentine’s Day! May your home be filled with laughter, happiness, love, and kindness!