May 16, 2012

How to Have a Happy Home and Kids

The compliments I receive every single day are "you have such well behaved children, good job." I have had several people ask me how it is that I manage to have four nice and happy kids. I don't really know how it is. I like to think that perhaps they are nice now but once they reach their teenage years all heck will break lose. I'd like to list what I personally think makes our home a happy home and our children happy and nice kiddos. This is just my own personal experience and thoughts. I'll get into detail with each one later. I am not perfect, but this is my two cents.

1. You are not perfect and never will be but try hard and never stop correcting yourself and trying to be better. Mom's make mistakes. I make mistakes. Don't be too hard on yourself but try to set a goal each week to reach to become a better mom and never give up.

2. Have Faith. Attend church, read scriptures and pray together.

3. Make each of your children feel special. Compliment, hug, kiss, and encourage their special abilities and talents. Celebrate their uniqueness and accomplishments. Tuck them into bed in a special way.

4. Quality Time. Set aside a time to do "mommy and me" time and "daddy and me" time for each of the children.

5. Family Time. Set aside different days of the week in which your family does a certain activity TOGETHER. Plan special events, vacations and time together. Eat dinner together and talk about your days during dinner and before bed. Find something that everyone likes and do it often together, such as hiking or music. Have a special family song, chant or flag. Make family traditions.

6. Teach Independence. Allow them to learn, play and work alone. This will come in handy later on in life when there is more peer pressure. Teach them that it is okay to do something alone and not go along with others. Allow them to try and figure out problems for themselves before coming to you.

7. P.L.A.Y! Do not allow screen time every day. Force them to play outside. Have plenty of ideas, toys, crafts, books, and etc. for them to play with. Encourage their imagination! Play with them, but allow time for them to play amongst themselves, their friends and by themselves.

8. Focus on Sibling Love. We do not allow teasing, violence, or bullying in our house at all. We tell our children that brothers and sisters are the best friends to have and we are a family forever. I often tell them that there will be times in their life when they may only have each other, so they need to get along. We also compliment and thank them when we see certain selfless, helpfulness and loving behavior happening among them. Also remind them that it's not about who is better, because you love each of them and are proud of everyone.

9. Have a routine. When your children know what to expect they will be more likely to "go along" with it, especially when it comes to bedtime when they are young. They like stability and knowing what will happen next.

10. Have rules. Let your children know that the rules are set in place for two reasons; #1 to keep them happy and #2 to keep them safe. It's not to be mean.

11. Use discipline not "punishment" when rules are broken. It's not about your children being scared of you but understanding consequences.

12. Be on the same page with your spouse when it comes to discipline (such as my husband and I agree with using spankings as a very last resort) and be consistent.

13. Reward Good Behavior.

14. Responsibility. Kids WANT to work and help around the house. Give them chores to do and consider paying them for it so they can also learn financial responsibilities along with work ethic.

15. Be involved with their education. Children love to learn, so teach them what they are interested in! Read to them!

16. Teach manners and respect. We are big on please and thank you. We also continue to tell them to respect others and to do what their teachers/coaches ask them to do as long as they are asked to do appropriate things and don't do something that questions their own morals/values.

17. Have fun. Take time to laugh and giggle and tickle. Have some spontaneous times and do fun and silly things together.

18. Teach Love and Service. Love everyone and do service projects often to help others. Teach about poverty and disabilities. Teach acceptance and love towards everyone regardless of race or religion.

19. Don't give your children everything they want. Life isn't like that. They will be grateful for what they get in the end. If they aren't, talk about it and teach them how to be grateful.

20. Have an open door of communication. Make sure that each of them know that they can talk to you about anything. Specifically set aside a time once a month in which they can talk about whatever is bothering them but make sure they know that the door is always open.

21. Don't forget nutrition. Trust me, I can tell the difference when they are not getting all their fruit and veggies in for the day!

22. Show that you love them. I highly recommend reading "The Five Love Languages of Children" to understand how to show love and how each of the children show love. Everyone is different and it's nice to understand others and the reasons they do what they do.

23. Keep your home clean. When your children see a clean home and especially when they help clean the home they will be more likely to respect it and keep it clean and believe it or not... they will be more happy.

24. Remember that they aren't perfect either! Forgive and be there for them during the times they make mistakes.

25. Last but not least... Be an example! Show love towards them and your spouse and others and be the person who you would like them to be!

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