*Post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program. If you buy something using one of my links I recieve a small commission for the refferal at no extra cost to you.*
Living in a state of chaos isn’t good for anyone, but it’s particularly hard on kids. A chaotic home environment is easy to create, yet hard to change or fix.
As parents we tend to parent how we were parented. Even if that isn’t what we originally intended to do, it’s what we know.
When life gets rough it is all too easy to revert to those habits that were ingrained in us so long ago.
We have to choose to change! Choose to leave a different legacy.
Our children will carry their childhood experiences with them through their whole lives. Just because they grow up doesn’t mean they won’t have memories of the past.
Let the memories of their childhood home be the good, soft, comforting memories that they should be.
Not too long ago I felt extremely frustrated with what our family dynamic had become. It seemed that almost overnight the kids had become unruly monsters, the house was in a state of disarray that I just couldn’t deal with on my own and it was LOUD.
I don’t do loud well. I never thought I would be that mom…you know, the one who insists on “inside voices.” Pre-kid me used to chuckle every time I heard a mother say to her wee one “let’s use our inside voices, honey.”
I get it now!
A loud, messy home and angry parents was not the family dynamic I had envisioned for our children. What do I do when I don’t like something? I try my best to change it, or at least do it better.
First we had to address the volume issue…we had to stop yelling.
A lot of parents seem to go through this. I know I did my fair share of yelling. Sometimes it was just so I would be heard and others out of sheer frustration.
At first yelling was pretty effective with our kids. We are soft spoken people so when we would raise our voices it got their attention. Well, that response was very short lived.
Soon, they no longer responded to yelling, things would go in one ear and out the other. I would yell even more becuase they didn’t “hear” me the first ten times…and so goes the cycle.
We fixed this in 2 ways.
First, we dropped our expectations of how kids should behave just at bit. Having expectiations that are too high sets everyone up for failure, kids start thinking they “can’t do anything right” and parents get frustrated and angry.
Remember, kids are kids, not tiny adults. If they were born knowing all they needed to get through life, they wouldn’t need parents. We are here for a reason and that is to raise, guide and teach our children.
Second, instead of yelling we now whisper. We make eye contact with them and whisper what we want to say. This forces the kids to stop and actually try to hear what we are saying. Yes, sometimes we have to repeat ourselves a few times but overall this technique works wonders with our kids.
The best part?
The volume of our home dropped significantly almost overnight. Everyone in the house is much more calm and I don’t need to wear earplugs anymore!
A couple of books that I found helpful were Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Laura Markham and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber.
Once the yelling was resolved I created a new family routine.
I am a stickler for my routine. Having a routine changed my life several years ago and I have always had one since then. One of the reasons our home had become chaotic was because our normal routine had a wrench thrown in it.
My husband lost his job and was now home ALL THE TIME. The kids and I just weren’t used to it and I was having a hard time finding a “new normal.”
Mostly, I was just waiting for him to go back to work and then return to my normal routine. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen real soon I had to come up with a new routine that included him.
Having a routine takes out the element of chaos and surprise. Everyone knows what to expect and when to expect it…including you! Create a morning and evening routine, meal plan, homework routine and chores.
Need more help creating a routine? Take a look at Create a Routine You Will Love it is one of my earlier posts that outlines how I create my routines.
Next, we had to ditch the clutter!
One of the reasons why the house never seemed tidy was because we just had too much stuff! The bookshelves, toy boxes and dressers were overflowing, getting stuff out of kitchen cabinets was like playing a game of jenga and we had little piles of stuff everywhere.
I never wanted my home to look like a museum, just tidy. There is nothing worse than spending time cleaning and then looking around at all the clutter that is there.
It makes you feel like you didn’t really accomplish anything and it becomes hard to relax when you are always looking around at how much you still need to do.
Too much stuff also leads to being overwhelmed, unproductive and wasteful of our time. How much time do you spend looking for things each day? I felt like I was always searching for stuff! It was enough to drive a person batty!
Bottom line, an uncluttered house is easier to clean, is relaxing and will save you time in the long run.
Finally, we started spending more quality time together.
Disconnect from the devices and reconnect with eachother! At one point our device addiction was out of control, everyone was always on a device. It was driving me crazy so I implemented an electronics intervention. You can read my tips for taming screentime here.
Be present and engaged in eachother’s lives. Have meaningful conversations, learn to voice your ideas, opinions and concerns in a respectful and loving way.
Actively cultivate a loving family relationship, that way you don’t have to spend time later on fixing those relationships. Life is precious and fragile, don’t let menial things get between you and those you love most.
We are never guaranteed another day on this planet so make the most of today. Do fun stuff together. Create those magical childhood memories that you always wanted to give your kids.
Doing these things shifted our family dynamic in a postive direction. We can all make postive changes to our lives, even if we feel stuck.
I am a firm believer that if you can imagine something and you want it bad enough, you can make it a reality by putting in a little (sometimes a lot) of work.
* Just in case you didn’t see it at the top…Post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program. If you buy something using one of my links I recieve a small commission for the refferal at no extra cost to you.*