6 Steps to a Calm Family
In our last post, we asked you to dream BIG about what your family might look like if there were more of a sense of CALM. We told you not to worry about how you would go about it, just to begin thinking about how it would be different if you could be more calm as a family. If you missed it, go HERE to read it.
Half a Dozen Steps You Can Take:
Don't be overwhelmed, you may need to start out making changes slowly to get your family from where it is to where you want it to be. Just pick one or two ideas to start with and build from there. Creating a calm family is a process, not an event and there is no such thing as "perfect". Perish the thought. Just build the best family you can, and keep improving from there.
- Be a Good Role Model. Set the tone for a calm family by being a calm parent. Take care of your own emotional responses so your kids can learn to do the same. If you have over-the-top responses and are prone to strong emotional outbursts, get help for yourself, either by reading about managing your emotions better, going for counseling or therapy or hiring an emotion coach. There are also online programs that support adults in learning better ways to handle situations
- Talk About Feelings. Help your kids understand that all feelings are okay. Help them learn ways to cope with their feelings and resolve the difficult ones. If you struggle with this yourself, get help, as noted above. Our resources were specifically created to assist you in helping kids with feelings. Keep communication open about emotions.
- Build Routines. Routines are the building blocks of stability for kids and for us. Erratic schedules breed uncertainty and stress. Kids particularly thrive on routines. You can build in routines for the morning, evening, bedtimes and weekends. While we always need to maintain an air of flexibility, a routine provides a foundation for a sense of order and calm.
- Eat Meals Together. There’s something to be said for gathering around the table to share a family meal. Research shows that there is more family harmony and that kids fare much better when family meals are part of their lives. It’s a great time to connect and model problem-solving skills.
- Have Family Meetings. This one activity can make all the difference in the world for your family. During family meetings, have simple ground rules so everyone knows what to expect. A great start would be that one person talks at a time and there is no yelling allowed. Help each other keep these rules in mind during your meeting.
- Have a Code. When tempers flare and things are starting heat up with conversations, etc., have a special code word that any family may use to STOP the conversation, take a breather and come back when thing are more calm and collected. This is a great way to model to kids how to take care of themselves when they are getting too upset, also.
Now It's Your Turn
Is there anything you would add to this list? It's not exhaustive, by any means, and what might help one family may not work for another. In the comments below, let us know if there is something else you would add!