My Top 5 Tips for Calm
In today’s whirlwind society, where we feel like we have no time for anything, it can be hard find those moments of calm.
As a family we always seem to be rushing around trying to get things done. Maybe it’s the forgotten last minute homework, that certain day of the week all the after school activities seem to fall on or just trying to win the battle of finding that ‘correct’ work-life balance.
What we seem to end up with is a kind of organised chaos. Along the way we have found ways to bring about some calm. Manage the mayhem so that maybe the morning routine doesn’t involve having to ask someone five times to put their shoes on! Maybe there doesn’t need to be an argument about homework every single night?
So I thought I’d share some of the things we do in our house, that will help you calm a little of the chaos and feel like you’ve really got things under control.
Get up earlier than your children
Now this is number one, because this single act can seriously be the difference between the calm and chaos!
It often takes some convincing, but once you start doing it you will be hooked!
Now by getting up earlier than you children, I mean a good 30-60 minutes before! If you are a family that wakes up and chaos ensues until you manage to get out of the door for school, then picture this for a scene. You wake yourself up an hour earlier then you normally get up and walk downstairs in the quiet to make yourself a cup of tea. You sit quietly and write a list of the things you need to get done that day. You may also take 10 minutes just to sit and take in the silence, gather your thoughts for the day ahead. Then head up and get yourself showered and dressed before it’s time to wake up the rest of the house.
You’re probably thinking you need that extra sleep, but I promise you, this gives you a whole different attitude to the day! Give it a try for a week and see how you feel.
Create a visual routine
So we all have a routine of some sort. We know we wake up, eat breakfast, and go to work, etc. but some people, especially children, can forget little things along the way. It is much better to have your routine ‘made formal’ by writing it down, or using pictures for younger children that can’t read.
If a child has something to refer to each morning when they are getting ready for school, that tells them exactly what to do and in which order, then they are much more likely to be able to get everything done that needs to be done. In our house, we have a morning routine and the children are then allowed to turn on the television, once they have completed everything on their list.
Then you can all leave the house calmly, with your children already feeling like they have accomplished something; great for their self-esteem and a fantastic way to start the day.
Draw up a family contract
Yes it sounds very formal, but formal is sometimes good. This is all about laying down your expectations for the household.
This is not at all about parents dictating to the children; it’s all about sitting down as a family and agreeing to the rules of the house. Parents are just as good at breaking their own rules, so it is important that you all agree to follow the contract. Once you have written your list, then all members of the household can write their names at the bottom as a sign of commitment to the contract.
By laying out the expectations clearly, you will reduce the number of tantrums or arguments that can result when children are not exactly sure of where the boundaries are.
Make time for what you enjoy
This goes for mum and dad, as well as the children. The best thing to do is to actually make this part of your daily or weekly routine. That way you can be sure you won’t forget! This means taking time to do things that intentionally help you feel happier, more in control and better about yourself. Coming away from your ‘responsibilities’ and doing what you want to do instead of have to do.
We are so busy doing what has to be done in life to survive, we often forget the importance of making time to do the things that we actually enjoy doing. It is vital that we let our children spend time doing the things they love, so they can enjoy life, grow in confidence and build self-esteem.
You’re happier when you’re doing what you love, so make the time to do it.
Take a sensible approach to electronics
Electronics are a big part of everybody’s lives these days and it certainly isn’t going to be changing. What we need to do, however, is understand the negative effects of over-using electronics and what we can do to reduce them.
My big three personal negatives regarding electronics are:
1. Disconnecting members of the household from each other
2. Causing ‘bad tempers’
3. Children being influenced on social media
There are definitely others, but for me, these are the important ones that I actively try to counteract. Electronics time is limited, phones/iPads are not allowed at the table and my children are not on social media. Any games that they have, where they can interact with other people, are locked so that they cannot interact with other players.
The reason I have chosen this as one of my top tips is specifically because of point number two. Anyone that spends a lot of time on electronics can seem quite bad tempered or easily agitated later on. This is something I definitely noticed with my son.
So if you want to promote calm in your house, then it is a good idea to limit the time spent on electronics. That goes for mums and dads too!