“There’s no place like home” are the famous words Dorothy said in THE WIZARD OF OZ. And it’s true, there is no place like home. Home can be a place of refuge or a battleground. And we as parents set the tone. The phrase “If mama ain’t happy, no one is happy is so true.” We set the tone for our home. If we are always negative and grouchy that affects the peace in our homes. If we are always yelling and complaining, that makes everyone ill at ease. This is experience speaking here, my friend.
I know as a parent I want my kids to enjoy being home. But what does that mean? To have a happy home, you don’t need the latest game system or big screen TV. While it is nice to have these things, they are not necessary. We as parents tend to think that is the only way our kids will enjoy being at home. After all, their friends have all the latest gadgets. And so we feel we need to provide everything they want. But I have found that there is a difference in wants and needs. “Wants” give great pleasure in the short term, but do not satisfy. What satisfies our children (and us for that matter) is not material possessions, but our presence in their lives. They want us to pay attention to them and to spend time with them.
What kids are looking for is a peaceful home where they can be themselves and don’t feel the need to impress. They want to be able to relax and take it easy. Home is a place where our kids can laugh and play and be themselves. And most importantly, they want to feel loved and secure. Mistakes are ok. Remember we learn from our mistakes and where else can we learn than in the safety of our homes. Let your home be a place where everyone can learn from their mistakes.
Below are some things we as parents can do to make our homes a happy place:
- Encourage your family to work as a team. A family is a group and not just individuals.
- Teach your children to work together and not only to look out for themselves.
- Don’t allow siblings to pick on each other. Arguing is to be expected, but bullying isn’t acceptable.
- Keep our homes neat and clean. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but let’s face the fact that it is difficult to relax in a messy home. Your home belongs to everyone in the family. With that said, get everyone to pitch in to keep your home neat and clean. Make everyone pick up after themselves and share their weight in keeping things clean.
- Allow for moodiness and bad days, but don’t let it be a way of life. Let your family members let off steam and teach them how to do so appropriately.
Eat at least one meal together daily as a family if at all possible. Families are busy and everyone comes and goes. If it’s not feasible to eat dinner together, try breakfast. And it doesn’t have to be a full breakfast. Cereal or pop tarts are fine. Do what you need to do to make it work.
- Try to do a family night (or maybe Saturday morning family time) a couple of times a month. Make a fun meal such as party finger foods, breakfast for dinner, or order a pizza and play games. Kids love playing cards and board games, even your teens. They may complain at first, but don’t give up. Movies are good, but don’t lead to family interaction.
Family is a pillar of civilization. Whatever your family looks like, you can make it work. Remember it is never too late to change things. Simply start with one small thing and build on it.
Blessings to you as you raise your children in the way they should go.