It doesn’t take much for households with young children to get out of control. When your kids are running all over the place and the noise of video games replaces the peaceful sound of birds chirping outside, you may feel the threads of your sanity starting to fray. Of course, it isn’t only the children that cause chaos around the house. Visiting neighbors and friends can cause havoc too, turning a previously calm household into a sea of jumping, running children and pets in just minutes.
If you want to create a calm household, the first thing you have to do is to set limits throughout the house. Make sure that your children keep their games confined to certain rooms, and have rules established on how loud the television is allowed to be. Let them know how many hours of computer games they can play each day, and when ‘Quiet Time’ is. Make a chart and pin it to the wall if need be.
Rather than have the children under your feet in the house watching television and playing video games after school each day, have them go outside to play as often as possible. Creating an outdoor play area may help encourage this, as will building a tree house! On weekends, you and your spouse can go with them to watch or participate. Take a walk, throw the football in the backyard and have a good time.
Inside the house, find more family activities to do that are relaxing, like watching old movies together, or even starting up a new ‘craft evening’ once a week. Try to divert your children’s interests into hobbies that aren’t reliant on noisy electronic devices, such as reading, painting, collecting, and so on. Try to encourage their interest in outside sports, which will mean them spending more time outside, and less time inside getting under your feet!
You might also want to institute some reading time for the family. An hour or so a day will give your family better appreciation for the written word. The best time to do this is about an hour before bed – it is a proven scientific fact that your kids (and you!) will sleep better if you avoid exposure to the bright lights of a glowing TV or computer screen for at least an hour (preferably longer), right before bed.
To encourage this, get the kids a library card each, and make a weekly trip to the library together. Help them pick out books that they might enjoy, based on their interests, and build or buy a bookshelf to keep all your favorites together in a prominent place in the house. Note that this ‘reading hour’ won’t work if you don’t enjoy reading yourself. If you always have your nose in a book, your kids will take note of this, and will be more easily encouraged to take up reading themselves.