Family life is wonderful. What can be better than spending time with the people you love most in the world? But at times, it can be trying. We’ve all had those weeks where we seem to have spent most of our time chasing after our kids. Follow our simple tips to reduce bickering and make things run more smoothly.
- Get Organized
This may sound simple enough but it also involves your kids being organized. It takes a little time to get it right. Many of the stresses and squabbles that take place in families can be reduced by creating simple routines.
Start by creating a calendar. This should be as large as possible. Add school holidays, trips and doctor appointments first. Then move onto weekly activities. Add events such as sports and cookery classes. The idea is to prepare sports kits etc. in advance.
Next, arrange a fifteen-minute slot each day when your kids get home from school. This is where they let you have any soiled kits and any teacher letters. Establishing this routine will avoid dealing with issues at the last minute. Make it fun and interesting by combining it with an after-school snack.
- Make Birthdays and Holiday Special Occasions
Make family time a priority. When everyone has their own hobbies and interests, the house can sometimes feel like a hotel. Treat birthdays and holidays as special occasions and involve kids in preparations. For example, get them involved in choosing gifts for dad for Father’s Day or birthdays. Encourage them to come up with ideas and help with food preparation etc.
- Teach Kindness
Family life can get a little rowdy and that’s fine. But where there are lots of views and voices, it’s hard for everyone to be heard. Teach your kids kindness and respect. When they don’t adhere to it, make them aware of their behavior. Don’t submit to the ‘he who shouts loudest’ rule.
- Protect Family Mealtimes
Wherever possible, protect family mealtimes. Have set times for breakfast and dinner and insist that everyone is punctual. Switch off the television and ban cell phones. This is a time where the family can sit, eat and talk about their day. Make it fun by creating themed nights and experimenting with different food. Encourage an easy-going atmosphere by preparing dishes that everyone can share.
- Limit Screen Time
This might be the trickiest adjustment to make. Limit your kids’ screen time. This includes all screens including the TV, cell phones, laptops, and gaming devices. We live in a networked world where having a cell phone with you at all times is the norm. Kids may find this difficult to switch off from social media. However, they will get used to it.
Establish rules for how much TV is watched each day and how much time can be spent playing games. Set a time each night where all screens must be switched off. This will improve the sleep quality and will encourage everyone to take part in different activities. Too much screen time changes cognitive and emotional functions within the brain. It also affects sleep patterns.
The above adjustments won’t radically change your life. However, they will create a calmer and more relaxed environment for you and your family.