A common theme we see with our family counselling clients is the overwhelm and stress caused by modern life. The juggle between work, sport, community, and for those with kids, also homework and after school activities, is time consuming and stressful and add to that cleaning and cooking when you get home and you end up with a pressure cooker situation.
Time management is crucial to relieve stress in a busy family however there also immense benefits to implementing some easy strategies in the home to help relieve the stress.
For adults and second only to money stress, is the burden of household upkeep and managing the family. Coming home to an untidy home adds to the stress levels felt during the day. At some point your mind wanders to going home and then of course the thoughts of “I didn’t do the dishes” or “I hate going home it’s always untidy” etc, start to go around and around like a ferris wheel of doom and gloom.
For children it impacts them in other ways. A messy home causes stressful parents. Stressed parents create a hectic environment and energy in the home. Kids are perfect little antennas for adult stress. They can pick up on it no matter how hard you try to hide it. For most kids a stressful home environment will impact them in some way, however for kids with anxiety, depression, learning difficulties, behaviour problems etc, this can put them even more on edge as they begin wondering if they did something to cause it, are they in trouble, and on and on it goes.
We all struggle with the juggle, but there are ways to lessen the stressful energy in the home so that it becomes the sanctuary your family retreats too, away from the outside world.
Here are our top tips to achieve a stress-free and calm home environment:
1.Communicate – keep the lines of communication open between all family members. Don’t keep your kids in the dark when something stressful is going on. They can sense when something is wrong so instead, give them enough age appropriate information to provide them with a sense of security and understanding.
2. Plan – yes you have heard it all before but it really works. Plan your week ahead. Plan your meals. Plan what everyone will need for the following week. Make it a family sit down for 30 minutes on a Saturday and create a family plan for the following week so everyone can refer to it during the week. If it is all written down it removes the stress of last minute book week costumes, or eating too many takeaway dinners because you haven’t had time to think about what food is in the freezer or not being able to find socks every morning!
3. Delegate – Kids from about the age of 3-4 can start to help out around the home with age appropriate chores and it builds a sense of family pride for them to take part. Start dividing up the tasks amongst the family so one person isn’t doing everything which then creates a bottleneck.
4. Decluttter – A cluttered home leads to cluttered minds. Purchase a large plastic tub to collect belongings into for each family member and every Friday night spend 5-10 minutes as a family going around the house and putting anything that has been left out, into the respective tub it belongs in. Each family member then has until Sunday dinner time to have put away their belongings. If it isn’t done then it is confiscated and the only way to get it back is to do another chore or help out a family member. Effectively putting belongings into clutter jail in one tub with a lid on it.
5. Cleaning – a light clean each week will keep the home looking tidy and feeling lighter. Open all the doors and windows where possible and allow fresh air to flow through your home. Use a diffuser to distribute some pure essential oils to give the home not only a lovely smell (free of chemicals) but also to impact the mood of everyone in the home. Lavender is perfect for a calming environment or a citrus oil is fantastic for getting everyone motivated when needed. Once a month (or whatever period works for you), get a cleaner in for a few of hours to do the things we all hate doing, bathroom, oven and fans! The sanity it will restore in your world far outweighs the cost of a few hours for a cleaner. If money is tight then set up a swap roster with friends – it’s far easier to clean someone else’s home for a couple of hours than your own!
Download our printable De-stress Kit that includes Meal Planner, Weekly Family Planner, Daily Personal Planner and Chores Chart and take back control over your time and energy.
Until next time,