Not all our parenting has to be a big push or hard work. Sometimes when things aren’t going well in our home we can make little tweaks and find big returns – or big changes happening. Today I’m sharing 3 things that you can tweak that will make a big impact on how your family functions. They aren’t big things – though I wouldn’t recommend you try and address all of them in the one week. Have a listen, and see if there is some fine-tuning you can do in your family.
I think you’ll find each of these 3 aspects of family life to be something that you probably have already had happening in your home to some degree.
When we get busy we tend to drop our guard just a little, and suddenly before you know it – things aren’t happening as you would like. I’d like to encourage you to not be disheartened. If one of these things is something that you have worked on before then trust me, it won’t take much to get things back on track.
But…if this episode highlights something that has never been a part of your family life or parenting then I encourage you to have a listen to Heart-focused Parenting podcast #8 that talks about the process of teaching and training our children and apply that to the area you need to work on.
Habits will Help
I am a big believer in habits – habits are the things that we do so often we can do them without thinking – an automatic response. Now if we have good habits – responses that are in keeping with our beliefs and value system that is a good thing because we can do things without thinking which lightens the mental load that we all carry but if our habits aren’t aligned then they are the things we need to change – and that can be hard.
Often bad habits start with a slight deviation from something that was good, so slight we don’t even notice it. We start letting things go, we tell ourselves just this once; and before you know it, it has become our new normal, our new habit – albeit not a habit we want.
This is why I started this podcast – so that I can be a weekly reminder to stay the course. If you want to be intentional, relational and heart-focused as your raise your kids – teaching them faith, values and life skills you need to be aware of the little choices you make all through the day, because those little choices will have big impacts.
So here are the 3 little things that make a big difference in family life:
-1- Finding Rest
Ask yourself: Does each family member have time and space to rest and recharge every day – or are we always doing something?
Busyness creates tension. We can fill our days with good things and yet not meet the real needs of our children, or even our own needs. We live in a society that values doing all the things. We tell ourselves that we don’t want our children to miss out on anything. And yet all we are doing is perpetuating the lie that we can do all the things and ignoring the fact that there is a cost. Because there is a cost. There comes a time when we know that we are tired, and yet we still push our kids to do all the activities. Two things happen here – 1/they get tired and exhausted and don’t respond to life well and 2/we teach them that filling their days and not missing out on anything is the way to live life – even though we know that isn’t working out well for us.
What to do about it:
- Have a serious look at all the activities and commitments that each family member has.
- Consider how each activity or commitment affects other members of the family and decide if it is a priority or not. Remember priorities change as seasons change. So a decision made today isn’t necessarily set in stone.
- Ask yourself the hard questions – why is it important to you for your child to be doing this activity? Ask yourself the same question about your activities. This is a heart question and will get to your motivation, which will help you decide if the activity aligns with your beliefs and values, and if it is something you need to keep or let go.
- Learn to value rest and doing nothing. Actually doing nothing is resting and recharging, so it is doing something, something very valuable. But we have to change our mindset. Our kids need to learn to rest and recharge, they need to learn when they are tired and not making wise choices. They need to know how to recalibrate. And they can only do that if we show them how we do it and give them time and space for them to learn how. When you teach them to recognise their needs and to take responsibility for their rest – you are giving them a life skill for life.
-2- Keeping our Home Tidy
Ask yourself: Are there times in our day when our belongings create stress and tension in our family life?
For me, this looked like not being able to find things – things like shoes, and hats and waterbottles. This meant we didn’t get out the door on time, which made me stressed. It looked like clutter on the kitchen bench which clutters my outlook. It looked like a dirty floor which made me just not able to function. Each of us will have different triggers – different things will matter to you. I liked the floor, the dishes, and the bathroom bench clean and tidied every day. So as a family they were the priority chores we worked on.
This is a big topic to talk about because I know a lot of mums feel the need to have their house spick and span – like my mum used say – ready for the queen to visit. Ready for a magazine shoot. Ready for Instagram. I would ask you to ask yourself the hard questions here. Why. Why is it so important to you to have your house in such perfect condition? Yes, I know we can think and function better when things are all just right – but in this season of your life, I’m going to ask you to think about the cost. What is it costing you, your heart, your relationships, and your children’s growth for you to have such a high standard of order in your home?
What to do about keeping our house tidy:
Have you ever followed Flylady – she was a big name in the 90’s for decluttering and teaching women how to keep on top of their homes. She is still around and has a very useful system. I still use her prompts and app to manage my housework. But one of her key phrases is baby steps. So take it, one thing at a time to address the mess your belongings may be in.
What is the biggest struggle when it comes to your home and your belongings? What stops you from putting things in the right place the first time?
The answer to that question is usually one of three things.
- You are lazy,
- You are pushed for time,
- You don’t have a right place for it so you just put it down
One of those three things is the thing you need to work on as a family – being diligent, punctual, or orderly.
-3- Turning Down the Volume
Ask yourself: What is the volume in our house? Is it so loud we don’t see or hear each other?
I know every person has a different tolerance to sound – but when we are talking about a family, living together, day in and day out, chances are it is loud, and chances are that in itself creates tension.
Loud can come from constant background noise like Gaming, Movies, and Music or it can be how you talk to each other – both positive interactions and negative.
Have you ever noticed that when you leave the kitchen exhaust fan on for an extended time – say all through dinner – and then someone realises and turns it off, how everyone just relaxes. It happens in our home a lot and we notice it enough to talk about it. Someone always says – thank goodness! But then we also all agree we didn’t realise it was on. This is what background noise does in a home. It intensifies our senses – making our senses always on alert, working hard. So it is tiring.
What to do about it
- Have a check for the noise level in your home. Is there background noise happening all the time – a noise level you’ve become immune to?
- Be more intentional about what noise is happening, and how it is impacting other people in the home. When my kids had Gaming time (on a computer) they had to use headphones. When my oldest son started watching movies that weren’t appropriate for the younger kids, he also used headphones. Not to hide from me what was being watched – but out of consideration for others in the home. We chose music that matched what was happening in the family – not just what one person wanted to listen to.
- Listen to see how you communicate throughout your house. Do you yell at each other – not angrily just communicate in a loud voice throughout the house? Do your kids yell and play loudly? This is where we need to start using Inside voices. Teach your kids what that means, and make sure you use your inside voice too.
Heart-focused Action Step
My mum used to say to me when I’d get in a mess or when things were overwhelming – what is one thing you can change that will make a big difference? And I guess that right there sums up this whole episode. Change one thing – and it will make a difference. I always found changing that one thing gave me renewed energy and focus to keep on going with all the other things. So what is the one thing that you need to tweak in your family or parenting that will make a big difference in your family life?
- Finding rest
- Keeping your home tidy
- Turning down the volume
Or maybe it is something else. I know once you start to think about a small tweak you’ll find the key thing to adjust things in your family.
I would love to hear from you this week if this gave you something tangible to work on. Let me know which one was the key for you – either one of my 3 or something else you realised. You can contact me here. I’d really like to know what you tweaked and how it went for you.
How to Develop Habits in your Life: Habits help us do the right thing at the right time.
10 Ways Parents Make Parenting Hard – Harder than it has to be? We can make it harder than it has to be by the habits we get caught up with but you can catch yourself and start responding differently.
Perfectionism Distracts us from our Purpose: When perfectionism becomes our focus we are distracted from our purpose; we need to renew our mind – in keeping with the Bible. (Journal pages included)
When I Try and Do it All – as a Mum: Regardless of what I know to be true, there are times that I try and do it all as a Mum; it usually crumbles. Instead I need to focus on the important.
Hi there! I'm Belinda and I'm glad you are here!
I am a family life coach and help parents to raise their kids with faith, values and life skills in a way that is intentional, relational and heart-focused. Read more on the About page
You can learn about heart-focused parenting through my podcast, blog and weekly email (Heart Boosters).
You can email me here.
Search by using keywords to find what you are looking for
Need to talk to someone?
I also offer one-to-one coaching. Your first coaching call, JumpStart, is free - and we spend time getting to know each other, as well as discussing the things you are finding hard so that we can clarify the key step forward. At the end of the call, you will have a heart-focused action step to work on. You can then decide if you want to book a Moving Forward call and then later continue with an Accountability call.