Can You Make Your Home Fun and Stress-Free in Four Steps?
A family that plays together stays together (and is far less likely to irritate members of the family in the process!) If you want to improve your emotional wellness, a great place to start is with the wellbeing of the family as a whole, especially by making family life as fun as possible for you and the kids.
If you’ve read a bit about family wellness, you know that eating together is crucial to boosting your children’s academic achievement, lowering your daughters’ chances of developing eating disorders and lowering the rates of depression in boys and girls. However, mealtimes don’t have to be all doom and gloom. Think back to your best family mealtimes (if you had any). Were they serious, stuffy affairs or simple and humorous? According to Michele Borba, EdD, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, ‘Silly things that don’t cost a dime will bring you closer together.’ Try having a backwards day where you serve breakfast for dinner and vice versa, or spend the whole meal doing a silly accent.
Stay home as much as you can, and stay together. Baking cupcakes for the school cake sale is fine, but how much more fun and bonding would it be to do it with your child? Make sure your time at home is intentional, quality time. Tape a note to the telephone that says ‘No!’ to remind you not to spread yourself too thin, especially during the school holidays, and Borba advises, ‘Reading aloud, in particular, is a great way to stimulate family conversation.’
Next, Borba says, ‘As your kids get older, they tend to befriend others with similar values and interests. You can find out a lot about your child by who they hang with.’ So make your home a welcoming space for your kids and their friends – at least you’ll know where they are! Fill the fridge with fun and healthy snacks, stock up on games and consider installing a basketball goal. It might be a good idea to create two separate group rooms in the house, so you don’t encroach on your kids and their friends, but you’re not sitting in your room waiting for them to leave so you can watch TV!
Finally, though everyone wants to be the cool, fun parents, and children want cool, fun parents too, your kids will actually appreciate strict, clear expectations for their behaviour. According to Scott Haltzman, MD, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, ‘Kids may tell you they want to be free, but the idea is actually frightening to them,’ so have fun, but make sure your children know and understand family rules.
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