Often I come across highly productive people in their business environment whose home life can only be described as horrendous chaos. They are in control at work but the minute they step through the door in the evening, their control, order and discipline eludes them. The work habits and ethics don’t carry through.
How can you change this chaotic home life into a more efficient flow?
It can be done by creating positive productive habits which will create more time to enjoy the more important things in life.
Plan, Plan, and Plan Again
Plan your menus for the week in advance. Have a plan for normal activities and have a plan for “one-off” events. Get a planner or calendar for the kitchen or living area so that everyone is aware of their own (plus others’) activities. Children should be encouraged to check the planner each day and ensure that their own activities and parties are put on the planner. Simple things like making sure the children’s clothes are ready to go in the morning will help you avoid starting your day rushing around searching for socks and underwear. This causes stress and conflict in the morning, which is best avoided.
Create routines and habits — psychologists say that children feel safer with routines. They like to know what’s coming next. Even though they will fight and rebel against them, it makes for happier and more secure children. Children should always have the same bedtime routine; don’t allow them to fall asleep on the sofa or choose when they go to bed. Meal times should be more or less at the same time each day with enough time for digestion before bedtime. If bath or shower time is at the same time, children know what to expect. It’s essential that the parent is the decision maker. My favorite parenting quotation is from Robin Sharma’s Family Wisdom from the Monk who sold his Ferrari:
“Stop doing what’s easy and start doing what is right.”
Don’t allow them to watch hours of TV or play computer games just because it makes your life easier. Discipline and routine will pay off in the long run. A little bit of effort now will be repaid to you tenfold when the routines are established.
Routines are also important for teenagers. They will say they “hate you” for the imposed boundaries, but somewhere very deep down they realize that these boundaries mean that you care.
Make everyone pull their weight
Give all children chores — even the youngest should get into the habit of being responsible for some area of the house. In this way not only are you creating positive habits of responsibility and organization, you are also reducing your own personal workload. (But, of course, don’t let them know that!)
The more organized the household is the easier it will be when it comes to tidying up. Buy storage containers for the children’s toys and shelves for their books. Encourage them to tidy their room every night and put the toys back in their place. Ask them for their input on how they want their rooms organized. The more input you get from the children the more likely they will take part in the clean up, as they will feel more attached to the outcome. Organize your cupboards. Have a place for everything. One of the chief causes of clutter is not having somewhere to put things. You move things from counter space to table to chair without having made a decision where it should go. Make sure everything has a place.
Get up early
Getting up earlier than my children has been the savior of my sanity over the past few years. Having that time to exercise, meditate or do yoga has helped me to remain calm and feel one step ahead of the rest of the family. Rushing in the morning is the worst way to start your day. Having everything ready before the children get up will encourage smooth sailing when the little ones break the silence for the day.
And most importantly, make sure you have time for yourself. Time to exercise, time to relax, time for your relationship, time to think and time to just “be”. If you want to have a happy household, the head of the household should be calm and in control. So make sure you make time for yourself.
By having a life outside the family you are being a positive role model for your children. Children learn much more from what they see rather than what you say — so give them a good example. Create positive, organized and loving habits for the whole household. Not only will they appreciate it when they are adults, but it will make for a healthier, happier more organized and harmonious household.