What does the word Home mean to you? Does home equate to nurture or love? Is home filled with healthy relationships? Or, is it simply a permanent place where one resides?
We'd like to think of the word home as a place where we feel safe and can lay our head down after a long day at work. Home is a cozy place where we can cuddle up with our loved ones on the couch, where we can laugh and play games, or be nurtured when we are sick. Home is a place where relationships grow stronger! This type of home sounds amazing, right?
But, creating happy relationships can sometimes be difficult in our home environments. What if we don’t have a home as defined above? How do we create a place that truly brings joy, heals and nurtures us as well as our loved ones? Here are 6 tips on creating a home full of peace and harmony today.
1. Spend Time Together at Home - Take a Digital and Emotional Break
Separation can kill relationships, especially if you are too busy to put your partner or family first. So, when you're at home take a digital and emotional break from anything that distracts you, and focus on simply being present and connecting with your partner and your kids.
Try the following activities to connect:
- Play board games. You can even go old school with Monopoly and Twister.
- Cook a meal together and talk. Just pick a food theme night—like Italian or Chinese.
- Do a gardening project together outside. A few gardening project suggestions would be flowers, vegetables or fruit.
- Go on an old fashioned picnic to the park. Each person selects two items to bring with them.
- Do a puzzle together. Divide puzzle corners, center images and compete.
- Play a card game. A few card game suggestions would be Crazy 8’s, B.S. or Go Fish.
- Play freeze dance to the music. Let the youngest family member control the start/stop of the music.
- Watch old family movies together. You can even use a sheet and projector in your backyard if it’s nice enough out!
- Plan your next adventure together. Vacation or a staycation, just plan and have fun!
If you have to travel for work, make time for your partner and your kids by getting creative when you’re away. Send them a daily text message sharing what you love about them and why you love a specific characteristic they embody. Set up a calendar request to FaceTime each other and connect while talking about their day, be sure to stay present at that moment and only focus on them. Stay connected in any way you can to nurture and grow your most important relationships.
2. Monthly Family Outings & Couple Date Days/Nights
Make the time to sync up the family calendar and put these fun events on everyone’s calendar, that way it’s more likely to happen without canceling or having other activities getting in the way.
Monthly family outings:
- Take the kids roller skating.
- Take the kids to a museum or art opening.
- Take the kids to the beach or a lake.
- Take the kids to the zoo.
- Go see a play at the local theatre.
- Go on a family hike.
Couple date days/nights:
- Take a dance class together.
- Take a walk together with the dogs.
- Go for a drive on the coast or near the lake.
- Meet up for a drink or a coffee.
- Sign up and run a 5K together.
- Go to a drive-in movie.
The possibilities are endless for both monthly family outings and weekly couple dates. The important thing is to get creative and let all family members have a say in what you do and when you do it. It’s supposed to be fun for everyone!
3. Create a Family Mission Statement
Does your family have goals or feel a part of something bigger in life? This is a great opportunity to make sure they are connected to you and your larger family unit. A family mission statement can give members a sense of meaning and even identity, it can help children feel they are special and connected to something greater.
It may sound silly to some, but taking the time to create a life where people are connected and focused on moving in the same direction can really change your home environment. There’s a reason why businesses operate by a mission, it can take you to places of growth you only imagined.
In Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, the author speaks to the value of creating a family mission statement and a family culture very early on in your family’s existence. It doesn’t matter if things are good now, he shares that you can make them even better. “Without this vision,” Stephen Covey argues, “kids can be swept along with the flow of society’s values and trends. It’s simply living out the scripts that have been given to you. In fact, it’s really not living at all; it’s being lived.”
Here are five important elements in a family mission statement:
- Identify your family’s purpose or what you want to accomplish as a family.
- List your family’s values and desired characteristics.
- List action steps on how you’ll achieve your mission statement.
- Clearly display the mission statement for everyone to see daily.
- Make family decisions and determine your priorities based on your family mission statement.
Start today and sit down with your kids to create a new vision of where your family wants to go and how you’ll get there.
4. Build Teamwork with Family Members
Teamwork is a necessary element for a truly harmonious home. If this area is ignored, you’ll sadly create an environment filled with tension and even competition.
Housework is the big area where teamwork is needed. What's strange is that it's so often an area people forget to discuss or believe it'll work itself out naturally. This is never the case, and, after a few times of walking into the kitchen and seeing a sink full of dishes, or laundry spilling out of the basket and on the floor—the tension will come to a boiling point and conflict will begin.
So, avoid the mistake of not discussing chores and divide and conquer areas like listed below. You can have each family member own one or two areas, or even create a rotating calendar to divide and conquer:
- Take out the trash
- Do the laundry
- Mow the lawn
- Grocery shop
- Meal Plan
- Pay the bills
- Do the dishes
- Clean the bathroom
- Vacuum the house
- Dust the house
- Change the bed sheets
The list can go on and on, but this is at least a start. Be mindful of who’s strong and who’s weak in certain areas, or who likes and dislikes certain areas as well. Once you come to a mutual agreement on chore ownership, then the work can begin. The house will shift into teamwork mode and then one or two people will no longer be carrying the biggest load, so conflict around chores will be eliminated.
5. Practice Daily Forgiveness
Creating a home environment where feedback can be given and received can be a delicate balance. To maintain healthy communication at home: ensure grudges aren't held between family members and work on consistent forgiveness in order to restore harmony back into balance after conflict arises.
Those times conflict does arise during feedback given or received, using the Imago Dialogue tool for conflict resolution can be very beneficial. Dialoguing ensures you communicate in 3 main steps:
These 3 steps help slow down the conversation in order to truly hear each other. Understanding and forgiveness are more commonly achieved for both the sender and receiver when using the dialogue tool.
Why is forgiveness so important?
- Forgiveness is a gift to you, more than to the other person.
- Forgiveness can impact your physical and emotional health.
Tools to help achieve forgiveness:
- Take ownership for your part in a conflict and apologize.
- Express how you feel one time only, and then let it go and move on.
- Write down your feelings about the experience in a journal.
Be mindful that each person moves toward forgiveness in their own time. When you work toward and create a home full of forgiveness, a feeling of safety will develop so you can more easily communicate with one another. Trust will be built over time in the knowledge that all will be OK in the home, regardless of mistakes made. Respect and forgiveness will remain and grow if we are mindful about incorporating it into our homes.
If you struggle with forgiveness, you’ll find that it actually hurts you more in the long run. Lack of forgiveness can lead to bitterness, resentment, and even anger. Pretty soon your home atmosphere will be very unhappy and filled with tension and conflict. Harmony and peace come when you allow for each other's faults, and more easily forgive anyone who upsets you.
6. Pay Attention to the Little Things
Simply going through the day in your home focusing on kindness and thoughtfulness can shift the environment for everyone. You might even want to think about regularly expressing your kindness through moments of appreciation—like the Imago term “positive flooding”. In Imago, positive flooding is used to share what we specifically adore about our loved ones in great detail, and said with lots of praise.
Actively working on creating a home environment where encouragement is regularly expressed, and negativity is removed benefits everyone in the home. Another way to look at it is the glass half full vs. glass half empty concept. Focus on what is positive!
There are homes where these principles are consistently practiced but in the homes where these principles are missing, there are big differences in peace, joy, and harmony.
Not all of these behaviors will come naturally for everyone, so you’ll need to be intentional about being kind, thoughtful, spreading positivity in order to create the home environment you truly want.
Enjoy the journey as you strengthen or create a harmonious home full of peace, love, nurture, and joy for your family and for generations come.