It’s no secret: life with kids can be loud and hectic. With a few simple tricks, you can help make your life and home a little more calm, allowing for the entire family to feel happier and less stressed. These tips can help you relax and enjoy your time with your family.
Prepare Snacks Ahead of Time
When kids get hungry, thirsty, or tired they tend to get fussy and struggle to control emotions and behavior. Keep snacks and drinks on hand at all times to offer to your child at the first sign that their needs are unmet. This is a great opportunity to teach kids how when we don’t take care of ourselves we don’t feel our best and discuss making healthy snack choices. It may seem small but having the ability to hand a child some apple slices with peanut butter can go a long way to calming them and in turn your whole home down.
Keep “Emergency Activities” Handy
Have special activities handy to keep your kids occupied. When kids get bored they start running around and screaming to play. While this is great for when you can send them outside to play it doesn’t work so well when either is not nice enough to send them outside. Gather coloring and art supplies, board games, and legos to set aside for when the kids start getting loud. Let children pick an activity from a special toy box or shelf. Even better, take a few minutes to join them in the activities to give yourself some time to calm down and relax while having quality time with them.
Create Spaces for Relaxing
Create special spaces where you and your children have the opportunity to relax. A comfy chair or bean bag with a bookshelf nearby and plenty of pillows and throw blankets is a great way to make a cozy little reading nook. Some foster kids might have a special blanket or toy from home, that they want to keep in the special area. Relax in the space with a book to set an example for your child, read aloud, and encourage your child to take some quiet time breaks to relax and read in this space on their own.
Diffuse Meltdowns by Getting on their Level
If a child is having a meltdown, get on their level to communicate rather. While it might be hard to speak in a calm manner when you are stressed out, it’s important to show your kids there is a better, calmer way to communicate. Crouch down to your child level, look them in the eye, and whisper what you want them to do then have them repeat it back to you. This forces your child to listen carefully to what you said by keeping your voice low and helps them remember by repeating it back at you.
Use Timers for Specific Chores
Set alarms for things your kids do not want to do. This trick is great for young kids working on something they don’t want to do. Instead of you saying it is time to use the potty, the alarm said so and, well, you can’t argue with an alarm now, can you? While this trick won’t work on older kids that figure out that it is you not an alarm that is making the choices this can help a lot for toddlers and preschoolers instead of fighting to get them to pick up their toys or complete another task.
Utilize Parental Controls
Use parental controls to your advantage. Trust me, they are your friend. Instead of arguing with your child to not watch something or to stay off a website, you do not want them on, can set parental controls to place these limitations on a child without the arguments. This is especially helpful for older children that recently entered your home. It may take time to set specific rules and boundaries, so having parental controls set up before children arrive will make it much easier.
For kids that don’t like to get off of devices when it is time, you can take advantage of parental controls to shut the devices down when time is up. Ipad devices are a favorite for many parents because this feature is easy to use. Don’t have parental controls and need your kids offline? Change the WIFI password to get kids to get off of devices without as much fuss.
Reward Good Behavior
Offer rewards for hard work well done to get kids to be more willing to do their part. To avoid falling into a trap of bribes (“If you’ll get in your car seat I’ll give you a donut”) make sure you’re rewarding the behavior by using “when” statements instead. “When you’re good at the grocery store, you’ll get a treat!” This assumes the good behavior will be met and keeps you in control. Older kids and teens are particularly motivated by a bit of extra spending money even when the chores are less than pleasant. “When you finish all your chores, you’ll get your allowance.”
Plan One on One Time
Plan focused time for each child on a regular basis. This can be hard to do with a large family, but even just 15 minutes of focused time can make a difference. This is especially important right after a child moves into your home. It’s important for a foster child to bond with you but it’s also critical for other children in your home to know they’re still an important part of the family.
What are your strategies for keeping things running smoothly? Share your tips for a calm house in the comments below!