Life used to be so simple. Have you heard that before? Sure it was. There was no 24-hrs a day news, electronics of every kind, people with multiple jobs and kids with multiple appointments. Life has become quite complicated. A family of five can run into total chaos without a well-maintained calendar. Traffic is crazy, the commute is longer, and by the time we get home, we’re a frazzled mess. Just when we need to spend quality family time with each other, all we want is to be left alone, or with the TV or in the bathtub. It’s all gone sideways, and for the sake of our families and our marriages, we need to get it figured out. Relationships are taking a back seat to appointments. Thankfully, there are things we can do which don’t involve therapy.
First, we need to get control over our home’s atmosphere.
- If you can have one parent at home when the kids get home, do it.
- Don’t give in to providing each child with electronics. I know this is a hot button issue, but it is usually not necessary. If you feel they need something for emergencies, a go-phone or a flip phone will do the job. Seven-year-olds don’t need a smart phone. They just don’t.
- Establish routines. Make sure everyone knows what their job is and when they are to do it. Don’t do it yourself because it’s just easier. In the long run, you’re not helping your child grow into a responsible teen and adult. Chaos reigns when no one knows what to do.
- Open your windows and make everyone take a good deep breath. We need oxygen. If all we ever breathe is room air that is filtered through the furnace and the air conditioner – where is the oxygen? Sleep with your window open if at all possible. If it’s really cold, just a crack will do.
- Moms – don’t be your family’s maid. A three-year-old is capable of picking up after himself. It’s your job to make sure they do it. Train them in good habits now and you’ll reap the rewards later.
- Be sure everyone makes their own bed in the mornings. It’s good discipline and there is not much in life that is nicer than laying a weary body down into a well-made bed. You might have to get up a little bit earlier. You might have to go to bed a little bit earlier.
- Make sure everyone gets enough sleep. Children need a solid, good nights sleep. Teenagers need more sleep than children. Their bodies are going through monumental changes.
- If your children have electronics, have them turn in their pieces every night before bed. No electronics in the privacy of their bedrooms. They won’t go to sleep, the temptation is too strong. And if they are older children or teenagers, the temptation is too dangerous. In addition to the nightly Electronic Turn In, turn off the wi-fi if you feel you need to. Just don’t allow any E activities to go on at night or unsupervised.
Second, we need to get control over our time.
- Scrutinize every activity on that calendar with a fine tooth comb. Are they all necessary? As necessary as oxygen? Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it necessary.
- Limit TV time or cut it out completely. Spend time reading, being creative, playing outside or talking. Yes – conversation!
- Have your children invite their friends to your house. If they go to their friends house, make sure you know their parents. I mean, really know them. Not said Hi to each other at the grocery store.
- Establish family dinner at the same time every night.
- Don’t use the weekends as a time to sleep till noon. Sleep late sure, but get everybody up for a family day or a daddy-daughter/son time or mother-son/daughter time. Parent on purpose. Want to watch the football game? Go ahead, but also use it as a bonding time with the child who is interested in football. Be prepared to answer questions about rules or players or what happened.
- If you don’t go to church, hold your own family worship time. Teach your children about God. It’s your responsibility.
These are not magical solutions, they are just common sense. Decades ago, there was no need for a blog post on this – it was the way life was. We don’t have to live the way everyone else does. We can decide we want a simpler life for our family.
Do it all in love and Pray before you start each day.