After a 10 hour road trip this past weekend, my family and I spent the balance of the weekend puttering around the house and enjoying some of the simple things in life. We have come to accept that we are content spending time at home just being a family. Here are seven simple tips for helping you and your children enjoy time at home.
Establish routine. Whether it’s about heading off to school or bed-time, routine is key for all families. Keep to a set schedule of events and your children will reap the benefits. Their comfort zone is dependent, to a large part, in your routines. Routines also give children a sense of “how my family does things” or in other words, family culture.
Give them some space. All kids need some space to be themselves. Space to run around outside. Space to lay on the floor and look at a toy catalogue. Space to throw a football. Space to process a tough day or go into a time-out. Make your children’s bedrooms special and if there is any space for a play room, decorate it in a way that kids will love to be in. Think of your home as a blank slate of space, to be used for and by the children. If you need to repurpose a space to better suit your needs, step back and think about space as if you just moved in and had no possessions yet in the room.
Respect the quiet. Quiet time is precious for the human spirit and it helps children know themselves and their feelings. Quiet time is, not surprisingly, even better for parents as it allows for a cup of coffee or a chance to regroup from a busy day.
Be content with puttering. I grew up on three acres of land and plenty of things to do around the house. Puttering became an art as Dad would work in the garage and various “mini projects” would get accomplished before you knew it. Puttering involves losing yourself in something large or small- the ultimate lesson in zoning out so that you can focus on one thing, no matter how insignificant.
Establish a Sabbath. Taking one day off each week is an experience of profound meaning. No work, just time for family and rest. The week takes on new meaning when one day is set apart as different, special and even sacred. I recommend trying it for just a month. The results are unmistakable.
Practice hospitality. Being a homebody doesn’t mean being a snob. Hosting friends, parties and smaller gatherings can be a great way to show your children that home is where good times are had. My wife and I figure that ‘home’ is also a great venue for getting to know our children’s friends. It’s not as if our children don’t play at other friends’ homes- they do, but to whatever degree we can host their friends, we are more than happy to oblige.