HOW TO CREATE A CALM FAMILY HOME
As much as we love our kids, they do tend to bring an extra dose of chaos and clutter into our lives! I love the sound of my children having fun and I don’t mind at all if they set up base camp in my living room with tents of blankets and cushions, but I still prefer a calm environment generally. I think all the family are happier, more peaceful and (for me) less stressed! Here’s some simple, quick tips on how to create a calm family home that will benefit your whole family.
KIDS BRING CLUTTER AND CHAOS
It’s easy to have a calm home when you don’t have kids around! Let’s face it, kids bring extra noise, movement, mess and stuff into the home. We probably wouldn’t have it any other way because it’s great to see our kids having fun, enjoying life, playing, showing interest in things, learning, developing and experiencing a happy childhood.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT A CALM HOME?
However, I do like to regain calm after the chaos and here are some reasons why!
- After a busy day, I don’t want the evening to be full of the same clutter and chaos as the day and I certainly don’t want the clutter and chaos to greet me as I come downstairs first thing in the morning.
- The kids don’t always want to be rampaging around the house. Sometimes they need calm too. Time for quiet games such as building Lego or drawing and colouring. Sometimes, they just want to relax on the sofa with me and read a book.
- I find that if there’s too much clutter and chaos everywhere then we can all get overwhelmed, overstimulated and have trouble relaxing and finding some quiet, peaceful time and space to let our bodies, minds and senses recover. That is until the kids are ready to get up and go again!
- When my home isn’t generally calm, I can feel my stress levels rising. I can get grumpy or irritable and this reflects in how I parent my kids.
This is why I like a calm home and maybe you do too?
HOW TO CREATE A CALM FAMILY HOME
None of the following tips will take a long time or cost lots of money but they’ll help you keep a calm home that the whole family can enjoy, without spoiling the fun or making home seem not like home!
#1 Give everything a home
Make sure everyone in your home knows where things belong and ensure that all the stuff is returned to its proper home once everyone has finished using or playing with it.
Little kids will need help and encouragement whilst you teach them how to tidy away, but even a toy box in the corner of your living room will help them learn to put their toys away until next time.
#2 Get the kids to play outside
As much as possible encourage your kids to play outside in the fresh air, rather than inside your home.
If you don’t have a garden or safe outside space at home, go to the park or local playground as often as you can and encourage your kids to use up their plentiful energy running around here, rather than your home!
#3 Keep up your housework and routines
Keep on top of laundry, the dishes, hoovering and so on so there isn’t a build-up of dirty clothes or unwashed dishes. Set yourself up with some routines to make sure your home runs smoothly with minimal effort.
Delegate chores to everyone in the house so everyone does their bit and there’s less pressure on you. After all, you’re not the only one who makes the mess so why should you be the only one to clear it up!
Check out this post on how to set up routines.
I write a lot about simplifying your home and getting rid of any excess clutter that you don’t want, love or need. So, of course, decluttering your home is going to feature in this list!
If you have too much stuff, you’ll spend your time and energy clearing it up, tidying, moving and cleaning it.
This is time and energy you could be spending doing other things. And, on top of that, clutter has been shown to raise stress levels.
You can read more about the research here but putting it simply, reducing your clutter will reduce your stress.
#5 Decorate your home with thought
Colour theory suggests that some colours have a more calming and peaceful effect, whilst other colours make us feel more hyped up and stimulated. Some people feel better with a pot plant or two, some flowers or candles.
How you style your home is very much personal choice and your home should definitely be unique to you and your family. Yet, there are some simple tricks and ideas which can help you create a calmer home that still feels like home!
Check out this post on how to create a minimalist family home for some ideas.
#6 Don’t fill every space
Blank space is good! Whether it’s on a wall, the floor, a shelf, a table top, your calendar, don’t be tempted to fill a space just because it’s bare.
If there’s nothing you want to do with that space, leave it alone! If you want to fill it, then be sure to fill it with something that deserves to be there!
#7 Designate zones or rooms for particular purposes
This may be difficult with little ones who you need to be able to see at all times, but as your children grow up, maybe this is something you could consider.
If you work from home or use the computer a lot, set yourself up with a home office (either a separate room or corner of another room) so this is where you go to use the computer.
Encourage your kids to play in their bedrooms, or the playroom, or just in one room at a time, rather than spreading themselves and their toys throughout every room in the house!
Use each room for the purpose you intend it and set that room up so that you can use it in that way. Make sure you’ve got the necessary equipment, storage and space for whatever you’re using that room or area for.
It will stop you endlessly moving toys etc back into the place they should be, make it quicker to tidy up afterwards and easier for everyone to find what they need and use the space as it’s intended.
#8 Have one room in the house that’s always calm
This could be the living room if your kids are older and can play unattended in their bedrooms, or if you have a separate playroom. For now, it might just be your bedroom and the kids know not to use this room as part of their hide and seek games.
You’ll have to find what works for you, your family and your home but if you can keep a space that’s always calm, you know you can retreat there when you need time to recharge! I keep my bedroom calm, clutter-free and out-of-bounds for games to the kids.
#9 Your approach
I find that if I’m stressed out, shouty or in a bad mood myself, then this filters down to the kids. If I’m calmer and happier in myself then my kids are more likely to be like that too. So, the big question is how to be calmer and happier yourself?
I think the key is to identify trigger factors that make you angry, upset or overwhelmed and find a way to change them.
For example, I gave myself more free time by saying no (instead of yes) to every invite, commitment etc. I found a way to have more time to look after myself and do things for me (by getting up earlier and spending time on me before the rest of the house wakes up).
Over time, these little changes made a huge difference in reducing my stress levels and I’m a much happier and calmer mum because of it!
#10 Limit screen-time
This may not be for everyone, but I found it made a big difference to my family. I do let the kids watch TV and play on the Xbox, so I’m certainly not suggesting turning it all off, forever! In fact, screen time can be relaxing if you choose something that’s appropriate!
But, for example, I find when my older kids play too much Xbox they get angry, frustrated and definitely anything but calm. Turn off the screens, limit screen time if you wish and encourage your kids to find other things to do.
Screen time has its place but when it invades and threatens to wreck your calm home, maybe it’s time to go find something else to do for a while!
EXTRA BUSY TIMES
There are times when your home will have to work extra hard for you and keeping a calm environment might be difficult. Think of play dates, school holidays, parties and Christmas! You might have to let a few things go (ok, the house will never be show-home stuff) but try to keep to the points I’ve listed above as much as possible and you’ll find your home and your mind will be a little calmer than otherwise!
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Some of the suggestions on this list might not work for you because of the physical space you have available, or your kids just aren’t at the right age and stage. Take and use what you can. Even if you can implement a few of the points, you’ll be on your way to a calmer home and family life!