A peaceful home is something many of us long for. A place where relationships are healthy and spirits are happy, where we can rest our weary bones and just be ourselves.
There's no denying that creating a peaceful home takes work. The road to peace is not smooth or easy, but it's worthy!
I have found the following four steps to lay the foundation for a calm and peaceful home:
Create a flexible routine (with plenty of margin)
When followed consistently, a routine brings peace and order to the home.
Most children take comfort in routine and find it easier to transition from one thing to the next when they know what to expect. It also helps us as mothers to be more efficient and productive.
While a routine is usually a good thing, one that is packed to the gills will only bring stress and guilt (because you will rarely keep it perfectly). To maintain a peaceful environment, it is important to leave space for the unexpected. We call this margin.
Margin is having the time to be spontaneous or deal with an unforeseen mishap. It’s allowing enough room to look at a pretty bird that visits your yard or answer a soul-searching question from your child.
To include margin in your routine, plan a little extra time for each activity, or include “unscheduled” blocks in your daily plan.
Take time to plan
Have you ever realized on Saturday night that the church potluck is in the morning and you have no food? Or, when getting dressed for worship notice your dress is still in the laundry hamper?
These things happen to all of us at one time or another and add a great deal of stress to the home atmosphere. Thankfully, with a little forethought, instances like these occur much less often.
If you want a peaceful home, planning is a must.
Planning can involve a weekly sit-down in which calendars are checked and itineraries synced. Knowing what events or outings are taking place will allow you to make shopping lists and menu plans accordingly. It is always helpful to know which nights require quick and easy dinners or what days the bathroom really must be clean (because you are having company).
In addition to a weekly planning session, it is also important to incorporate daily planning habits. My preferred method is to check the calendar in the evening before writing my to-do list for the next day. I sleep more soundly knowing I have a plan for the morning. Find something that works for you.
Take time to prepare
After all that planning we need to take action and prepare! While it requires some effort, implementing this step makes a huge difference in the home.
Here are a few examples of where a little preparation can be very helpful:
Homeschool: Print out any worksheets or papers a least a month in advance, punch holes in them and file in an easy to access location (I know some print everything they will need for the entire year! I think that is an excellent idea).
Food: Preparing ahead makes meals more enjoyable. It also cuts down cooking time considerably.
Pre-cook meats and store for quick meal preparation.
Pre-cook entire meals and freeze. Think once a month cooking or double batch cooking.
Soak grains overnight so they will be ready for baking the following day.
A solid plan will make food preparation much less stressful (and more likely to actually happen).
Outings: Lay out clothing the night before, all the way down to socks, shoes, and underwear. Set all needed items by the front door or in the car. Fill water bottles and gather snacks.
Spend focused one-on-one time with each child
Children want and need our attention. (And they will get it one way or another.)
Spending one-on-one time with each child, without distraction, will reap many benefits. Turn off the computer, let the answering machine take care of any calls, and do something your child enjoys.
Although it often seems we don’t have time to set aside our to-do list, the return on this investment is great (and completely worth it).
In doing this you are building a relationship with your child and essentially building them up as a person. One added benefit is that kids who are getting positive, focused attention are more likely to be happy and leave you to finish the to-do list! They are also less apt to whine and fuss; which we all know would bring a lot more peace!
I know I have only scratched the surface and there are many other factors which play a part in creating a peaceful home.