Are there kids running around everywhere? Is your TV blaring at full volume, and the ping of video games driving you insane? All of the constant fights you can hear raging outside the door make your head want to explode. Meanwhile, neighbours and friends continue to drop by, and your spouse is hiding in the downstairs bathroom, waiting for peace to return. Is this something you’ve heard before? If this is the case, it may be time to start instituting some peace in the home and try to live a slightly calmer life together.
1. Set boundaries and ensure that your way is followed. This is the first and most important step you can take. This includes time restrictions, noise and activity levels, and, yes, bedtimes. For the parents, if the kids have to drag their parents out of bed for a ride to school, it will be a nightmare every morning. That is easily avoided by going to bed at the same time as your children; your sleep is also important, but don’t expect to sleep when your children require rides to school.
2. Visualize a more peaceful environment in your home. What do you notice? Write down the things you see in your mind and turn them into goals to help you create a calmer home. You will unearth a true picture of the house you want to live in your subconscious mind; keep this focus in mind and work towards it gradually.
3. Make a list of the things in your home that seem to be causing the most noise and a sense of rushing. These are the first things you’ll aim for with your limits. Consider when you are ready to receive visitors, limiting the volume of the TV, and limiting computer usage. Also, for the little ones, no running indoors.
Toys and entertainment are necessary for children, but this does not include television and video games. Instead of playing video games, try chess, mahjong, or backgammon. A good investment in good traditional games or board games may be less expensive than running a TV or video game console.
4. Make a task chart. This task chart must apply to every member of the household and include dates and deadlines. The larger the task at hand, the more time you must devote to it in order to maintain a calm approach – bit by bit will get it done rather than rushing around juggling too many things at once.
5. Clear the clutter. Clutter heightens feelings of stress, rushing, and inability to think clearly. The fewer bits and pieces in your path, the more at ease you will feel. Not to mention the reduced amount of cleaning required. Make a deal with the kids if they must keep so many toys, books, and video games. They can be kept in storage areas, but if they are discovered strewn across the floor three times in a row, they will be donated to the nearest charity store. For this ultimatum to be effective, you must mean it and be willing to do it.
6. As you work, keep your workspace clean. Cooking makes less of a mess if you wash items as you use them in between cooking sessions. Same goes for anything that is used – retrain everyone to return it to its original location once it has been used. Purchase labelled storage bins or baskets to encourage everyone to do the right thing.
7. Make a meal plan. If you’re constantly wondering what to make for dinner, set aside half an hour once a week (Sunday evening is often a good time) to plan out your meals. It doesn’t have to be super specific or you’ll dull down the cooking process and spontaneity, but at the very least write “pasta – Mon”, “steak – Tues”, “pizza – Wed”, “sushi – Thurs”, “take-out – Fri”. With the main ingredients on hand, you can decide on the flavours and style of the main meal on the night.
8. Request that visitors respect your boundaries. Inform visiting family, friends, children, dogs, and any other guests who come and go from your home that the closing time is whatever you specify. Furthermore, feel free to establish off-limits hours, such as family lunch times on Sundays. This will allow you and your family to connect over a special meal or activity without interruptions from outside sources. This includes turning off the phone and closing e-mail applications.
9. If you don’t file it, you’ll lose it! Deal with it as soon as it arrives in the mail, the schoolbag, or the briefcase. Open envelopes and place them in the recycling bin as soon as possible. File the letter, bill, or note after reading it. Make bill-paying time once a week and sit down with the file, one by one, and deal with it in a matter-of-fact manner. If you receive school notes, decide when you will sit down with your child to discuss these matters, then sign them away and place them back in the schoolbag; if money is requested, write the check right away and place it in the schoolbag. These actions will take some time, but spending more time on school and child-related matters is more important.
10. Make time for peace and quiet. Set aside calm time for yourself at least once a week, preferably once a day, to do nothing but relax and shut out everything around you. Encourage other family members to eventually join you in this. Set aside a special corner or room in the house for this purpose, complete with soft pillows and drapes, and call it “Mom’s Relaxation Corner” or “Family Downtime Zone.” Make sure that everyone in the house understands that this space is only for relaxation by any member of the family at any time of day or night. It must be located away from televisions, music, and other sources of noise and disruption. Peace is a virtue that can be difficult to attain in our hectic lives. There are, however, many simple ways that we have overlooked and should try to encourage in our daily lives.-
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