The times we are living through are hard on everyone, but can be especially taxing on our children. The anxiety, worry, and fear that have clouded the atmosphere, upended “normal,” and woven their way into every aspect of life can be hard to understand and process for children.
While parents may not be able to control what happens in the world, they can influence the extent to which those factors influence their home. What’s more, parents can aim to create a warm and comforting oasis that their children can count on.
A child should feel safe and loved at home. They should have a place they can go to get away from worldly problems, to be themselves, to freely play and explore, to be silly, and to rest.
Here are eight ways parents can instill the warmth and comforts of home in their family environment.
Like a simmering stew or a gently glowing candle, refrain from always operating at a hurried pace. Slow down your day-to-day, allowing plenty of free time, rest, and empty space. This may mean reducing the number of activities the kids are signed up for, renegotiating appointments and obligations that are on your calendar, and saying no a bit more frequently than you’re accustomed to.
Replace being busy with a balance between enjoyable action and restful rejuvenation. Take time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
Display Happy Memories
Photos of special times spent together as a family remind children they are loved, that they belong, and that life has both hard times and great times. Select images for the frames in your home that inspire a smile and bring back memories you and your family cherish.
Share Nourishing Meals
Sharing a meal together is a bonding experience. Set all digital devices aside and sit down at the table together to eat, talk, and simply enjoy each other’s company. Making mealtime a regular and predictable occurrence will provide your children with a sense of security.
Hear What They Have to Say
You may find yourself jumping from one task to the next as each day presses on, but be sure to hear your children when they speak to you. The dishes can wait; the laundry will be there later; your email response time can lag—if your child is sharing his or her heart with you, or simply telling you about the silly thing they read in their book, listen. Hone your listening skills and send them the message that you’re always there for them to talk with, share, open up to, and confide in.
Find a Rhythm to Your Days
A predictable rhythm to each day can provide a surprising amount of comfort to the whole family. Waking at approximately the same time, eating dinner at the same time, winding down in the evenings at the same time, and going to bed at the same time each day can keep everyone’s circadian rhythms in check and anxiety low. It’s worth the effort to stay on track as much as possible.
Edit the Inputs
Digital devices and televisions are portals to the world that may allow all the chaos in. Curb the attention to these things as much as possible, curate the music and entertainment that you do allow in your home to be educational, inspiring, uplifting, and fun.
Take Care of Yourself
Few things will stress a child out more than a stressed-out parent. If you’re frazzled, worried, stressed, anxious, or running on empty, your kids will pick up on it and it will impact them. It isn’t a selfish act to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Maintain the basics: Get enough sleep, drink enough water, exercise, eat whole, nutritious foods, take time to yourself, and connect to your spiritual belief.
Seek Higher Wisdom
Speaking of spiritual belief, keep things in the proper perspective by seeking higher wisdom. Nurture your spirit and allow your children to fulfill their own spiritual journey as well. Whatever your fundamental beliefs, share them with your children; allow big questions to be answered, stay humble, and ask for parental wisdom.